Barcelona 2030: battle for water, storms, summer heat and … fewer cars?

Most likely the Barcelona of 2030 talk about the Barcelona of 2021 with some nostalgia and a half smile. Now when it has become fashionable talk about ‘city in decline’, are on the table the substantive issues capable of change the course of a metropolis. Cloaked by more political than real polemics, debates about the mobility, the town planning, the cleaning, the waste management, the metropolitan metabolism or the economic model. And basically, the ambitious objective of making the Catalan capital a sustainable, livable place; beyond that required by the European Union in this long decarbonization of large cities, which occupy 2% of the earth’s space but are responsible for more than 60% of polluting emissions. Regardless of what can be done, political decisions or social movements, there is the inertia of the climate crisis. And there are certain things that seem safe, like reiterating Meteorological phenomena more and more powerful or the battle for water in the face of lack of rain.

All this, however, is discussed with some key questions that today have no answer: will the people of Barcelona be able to allow yourself to live in the capital of Catalonia? Who will command the future and what will be their priorities in a city where more than half of the registered have you been here less than 15 years? Will it finally be achieved reduce the use of the private vehicle? For Miquel Ortega, Doctor in Environmental Sciences and member of the EntThese issues will be resolved over the years, and one path or another will be taken. But what seems inevitable is that we are going towards a much more extreme weather. But you have to go in parts so as not to get lost.

A little ‘Mad Max’

You can start with the rain. Beyond the fact that Barcelona is experiencing in 2021 one of the driest years of the last century, which is not trivial, it seems clear that the “rainfall regime is going to change. “We will pass, our expert analyzes, by”longer dry spells“, which will generate many tensions with other municipalities as a result of the shortage. It is what has the need that, to have supply here, it has to rain there. The battle for water that exists in ‘Mad Max’, but serve the film as very exaggerated reference.

Without abandoning the meteorology, and with the fresh memory of temporary Glory that at the beginning of 2020, shortly before the pandemic, struck Catalonia, Ortega assumes that the extreme storms they will be “more and more frequent”. This will force, he maintains, the better the drainage system from the lower part of the city, which has already experienced floods in recent times as a result of unexpected downpours.

Poop in the sea

Same message for treatment plants, which will be unable to take on such an amount of water and will end up pouring our things from the bathroom to the sea. The coastline, as was seen with the Gloria, will also be much more vulnerable to Mediterranean onslaught, forcing certain interventions to keep Barcelona’s coastal profile intact. “If we were talking about 2050 or especially 2100, I would add the factor Rising sea levels“, warns the expert.

And then there is the thermometer. The forecast, highlights this doctor in Environmental Sciences, is that the summer nights become “increasingly uncomfortable.” That will involve more people with air conditioning at home. But many others, and it is the last straw that the weather too generate inequality, they will not be able to afford this appliance. “It will be increasingly uncomfortable to live in Barcelona during the summer months, we will have many saharan nights“And if bedtime will be a torture, working during the day will be even worse, especially for those who work outdoor, which will surely see their activity very limited, by medical imperative, to certain hours. The dehydration, of which now only those who do sports speak, will be the daily bread for many professionals.

“It will be increasingly uncomfortable to live in Barcelona during the summer months, we will have many Saharan nights”

More heat will also imply more tension for the Collserola natural park, that miracle of more than 8,000 hectares surrounded by nine municipalities and crossed by a highway. The more serious fire of modern history occurred on August 11, 1994, the day on which 150 hectares burned, among other things, because many firefighters were in Montseny and in the Selva, stopping a fire that would destroy nearly 9,000 hectares. . Ortega points out that climate change will bring, in addition to a higher risk of fire, more “forest diseases.” And all this will happen to a park in 2020, despite the confinements, it reached the 6.5 million visitors, 30% more than the previous year.

The mobility model will undoubtedly be one of the things that can change the most in these 10 years. A recent municipal survey shows that in the city there are almost as many who go in bike and scooter like those who go by car. But that has a catch: it is necessary to add the dump of cars that come every day from all the metropolitan confines. The low emission zone (LEZ) will go up steps in the I veto the dirtiest carsAnd who knows, by 2030 the council may have already decided whether or not it wants an urban toll. In these 10 years, in an assumption, they will have worked intensively on the distribution of goods. The idea is create logistics centers From which, the last mile distribution is done in sustainable vehicles (nothing would happen if we go there for the package …).

Green shoots

In 10 years, if a change of government does not prevent it, it is assumed that one in three streets will already be pacified thanks to the green axes plan which starts next year with Consell de Cent. But any restrictive measure that is taken in terms of reducing traffic, however, must be accompanied by a good collective transport alternative, something that with the ZBE has been missed. Not internally, with a good good metro network (the promise is that the L9 is finished in 2029) and bus (A pity for the stunted commercial speed on the surface), but especially for those who come from abroad.

It is what citizens require, less pollution, and it is the goal that the city has set itself, that of reduce by 50% the emissions that Barcelona distilled in 1992, as well as reduce private mobility by 20% in 10 years. For now things are very bad, because the car already travels with the same vigor as before the pandemic while the public transport it is 20% below. And what will happen to tourism? Will the third runway of El Prat have been expanded, which would allow passing from 53 to 70 million passengers?

Good tourism

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Without another happy virus involved, it is to be expected that the Catalan capital will once again be a magnet for outsiders. If the ceiling of visitor beds is maintained and the irruption of illegal tourist flats, things should not change, beyond the long-awaited desire that the city attract more for its culture and architecture that for his weather and crazy life. In the pipeline, another eternal objective: the decentralization of tourism, creating poles of claim in districts that traditionally remain outside the usual circuits.

Regarding waste, the only thing clear is that Europe requires that by 2030 the level of selective collection is 60%. Now we are at 37% and it has been shown that the only system capable of driving the thing is the door to door that already works in Sarrià and Sant Andreu. But if it is not known what will happen next year with this plan, even less in 10 years …

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