Climate Change Forum inaugurated
During the forum inaugurating, the Basque regional minister for the Environment described the fight against climate change as "one of the major challenges facing the regional government"
Pilar Unzalu warned of the need to change "our paradigm of growth, to turn our models of production and consumption around completely, and to build more eco-efficient energy alternatives." We also had to be capable of evaluating opportunities for technological innovation, the preservation of natural resources, public health and the generation of new niches of employment implicit in that change.
Basque regional Environment, Planning, Agriculture & Fishing minister Pilar Unzalu took part today in the inauguration of the Climate Change Forum. During her inauguration speech, she explained that regional governments from all five continents had established their own emission reduction targets and had implemented measures on renewable energy and low emission mobility. "In the Basque Country," she declared, "we are aware, like you, that while we are part of the problem, we are also part of the solution. Climate change is now a major political priority for the regional government."
According to Unzalu, it was time to tackle the challenge of climate change "transversally and efficiently." To do that, "strong political leadership was essential if they were to factor in the climate variable in energy, transport, industry and housing policy, and to get other government departments involved as co-players in a transversal policy on sustainability."
Accompanying the Basque regional minister for the Environment at the Climate Change Forum inauguration were the Speaker of the Basque Parliament, Arantza Quiroga, and former Speaker of the Spanish Parliament Manuel Marín González.
During her speech, Unzalu described climate change as the "biggest challenge now facing mankind," adding that it affected whole countries, societies, ecosystems, organisms and biological populations. This required, according to the regional minister, "joint, coordinated action by countries and regions the world over to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emission and to adapt to the broad range of impacts they generate."
Unzalu also warned of the need to change "our current paradigm of growth. We need to totally change our production and consumer models, while building more eco-efficient energy alternatives." Likewise, society had to be capable of evaluating the opportunities for technological innovation, public health, the preservation of natural resources and the generation of new niches of employment implicit in such changes.
According to the regional minister, the indicators for the last two years showed a "slight reduction" in GGE emissions in the region, going from 1% in 2007 to 3% in 2008. Unzalu accepted that people had still not modified their habits or assimilated the fact that the fight against climate change was a personal as well as a social and a political issue. People had yet to realize that the way they run their households and their movements had a lot to do with the increase of greenhouse effect gases. So now, more than ever, politicians had to appeal to individual responsibility to kick-start what she called the "little big change."