Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bogotá's March for the Climate

Anti-climate change marchers on the Ciclovia today.
Bogotanos participated in the global 'March for the Climate' today, supposed to combat global warming. Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro has made fighting climate change a centerpiece of his discourse - but not of his policies, unfortunately.

Petro has implemented some limited pro-cycling policies, but under his watch the number of private cars - and particularly motorcycles - has boomed. That's not exactly Petro's fault, but he has not advanced policies, such as a vehicle congestion charge or real solid waste reduction laws, which could reduce the city's global warming gas production.

'Help the planet? Don't eat meat!'
That said, Bogotá and Colombia in general still do produce relatively small amounts of global warming gases per capita. That's because Colombia's a developing nation in which car ownership is still lower than its neighbors and because almost all the country's electricity is generated by hydropower.

However, car ownership is growing fast, the country is losing it forests at a dramatic rate and it's a significant and growing exporter of hydrocarbons, particularly coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. And Colombia recently approved the use of fracking, meaning it hopes to accelerate still more its fossil fuel production.

As in Colombia, climate change gases are booming across the developing world. According to a report released today, the planet set a new record in greenhouse gas emissions, driven particularly by China and the United States.

Consciousness-raising marches may be a good first step. But it'll take real lifestyle changes for the planet's wealthy if we want to halt climate change before it becomes too late.

Communist marchers denounce capitalism as the cause of environmental destruction. That's true enough, but communism, which can brought us Chernobyl and other disasters, didn't do any better.
Greenpeace - despite its idealism - or because of it - opposes nuclear energy, which is the only low-carbon energy source that can realistically replace fossil fuels in the medium term.
Factories 'Guilty of Causing Sicknesses.'

'Protect Our Wetlands.'

Soon after passing the climate change march, I spotted this pollution-belching bus, a half-block from the Ministry of the Environment.  
While global warming gases and traditional air pollution are different things, 'rolling chimneys' like this one are an indication of the government's lack of seriousness in environmental matters.

The city government has permitted projects like this one, a private university's massive parking garage being built on Bogotá's hills. 
Projects like this one contribute to climate change (and damage quality of life) in multiple ways, by promoting private car use and deforesting the hillside.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

No comments: