Submitted by: City Council of Murcia
Implemented country: Spain
Title: Murcia: A Local Climate Change Agenda as an Example for Many Cities
Miguel Ángel Cámara Botía is mayor of the Spanish city of Murcia. The Murcia region is located in the southeast of Spain and borders the Mediterranean. Murcia is considered to be one of Europe’s most arid areas. Summer temperatures reach an average of 40° Celsius and the region is in constant need of water. Some of Murcia’s bays have their own micro-climate with special vegetation and rare species. All this is now in danger of extinction because of the change in climate. Mayor Cámara Botía has three children and is a thoroughbred politician. Combatting the climate change is a personal issue for him because he wants his family and “his” Murcians to be able to live a good life in an intact environment, and this is how he does politics. He believes that every individual holds the keys to change in his or her own hand. Everyone can contribute to climate protection by using less energy and less fossil fuel and by not throwing so much away. He also teaches these principles to his students at the University of Murcia in his classes because in addition to his job as mayor he is also professor of soil chemistry and agro chemistry.
When Miguel Botía began to study the 4th IPCC Report on Climate Change, he decided that it was time to take action. As a chemistry expert he knew what the statements in the report meant for Spain. The rise in temperature that can already be felt today will have fatal consequences: A reduction in water resources, soil erosion, receding beaches, a loss of biodiversity, and the collapse of entire eco-systems. According to expert estimates, cities are responsible for 40% of all CO2 emissions. As early as 1994, Murcia along with a number of other European cities, signed the Aalborg Charta and committed to creating more sustainable framework conditions. The Kyoto-Protocol and the 20-20-20 Targets by the EU (reducing CO2 emissions by 20%, using 20% less energy, and creating 20% more energy efficiency by the year 2020) as well as the signing of the Covenant of Mayors for the purpose of implementing local climate-change strategies provided additional support.
There were a number of challenges that had to be met, such as finding out how much the city of Murcia actually produced in terms of CO2 emissions and how to counteract this situation. Another prime issue was reforestation of the woods; using more efficient environmental technologies; motivating the city’s residents to contribute to the cause by emitting 20% less CO2 (based on the figures from 2004). But: The path is the goal, and this is how Murcia was able to achieve a great deal: By passing new environmental regulations, through energy-efficiency campaigns, through promoting the use of bicycles in the city, through monitoring all pertinent activities, and by creating more awareness among all population segments. Between 2008 and 2012, nearly 115 projects and activities were completed. 48,000 tons of CO2 were saved per year. Mayor Cámara Botía has every reason to be pleased. The local climate change campaign was implemented at a rate of 95%. Now and then he will take a break, read a book or watch a favorite movie. The energy he needs for future projects comes from physical activity.
“Climate Change: a global problem with a local solution.”
Miguel Ángel CÁMARA BOTÍA