"95% of all travel on the public transport network will be powered by electricity in 2030”
Quebec has plenty of room for maneouvre when it comes to combating climate change, in particular concerning tax, but the same is not true for other local authorities.
Indeed, we are lucky enough to be well armed and to benefit from the experience of a Premier who was also Minster of the Environment. This enables us to set ambitious targets: 25% of vehicles sold in Quebec in 2020 will be electric and 95% of public transport will be electrically powered by 2030.
What is your reaction to this European conference?
I am pleased to see so many regions from Europe and elsewhere under one roof here in Lyon. We can give each other ideas, exchange best practices, and see what does or does not work... If Regions and Cities, which are at the forefront in the fight against global warming, don’t get together and take action between the various intergovernmental summits (Rio, Durban etc.), then nothing will happen.
How do you envision the future?
We are at the foot of the mountain. We are proud of what has been done so far but are determined to go farther. I believe that the Lyon Declaration will become a reference. As regions, we are responsible for public transport and economic development; we are in the front line.
José Gualinga and Jean-Jack Queyranne
Interview with José leader of the Sarayaku Quechua community in Ecuador
What brought you to Lyon?
We are drafting a cooperation agreement with the Region of Rhône-Alpes. We plan to create a new type of area, a sacred territory; a more far-reaching concept than the protected natural areas which we know today.
Why do you want to create this area?
The Amazon basin is home to large oil reserves and the northern part has already been overrun by big oil companies. None of their promises of development – whether in terms of education or health - have ever seen the light of day. We are fighting to prevent our land from suffering the same fate as the northern territory which has been turned into a giant oil field with disastrous consequences for both the environment and the population. The oil companies have been trying to move into our land for the past forty years but we are staying strong.
What would you like to see?
Our land belongs to everyone and is sacred. We want to foster original economic alternatives. It will be forbidden to exploit the resources beneath the earth’s surface, families will remain united, forests will be preserved, the fauna will continue to thrive and the rivers will be free from contamination. We want to develop nature-based micro-enterprises and become self-sufficient in food production. There is a word in the Quechan language which sums up this concept: sumak kawsai “Live in harmony.”
This project fits in perfectly with the fight against global warming and we are here to publicize it in Rhône-Alpes as the voices of indigenous populations all too often go unheard.
Mohamed Aslam, Minister for Housing, Transport and the Environment, the Maldives
Interview with Mohamed Aslam, Minister for Housing, Transport and the Environment, the Maldives
What is the situation in the Maldives?
Ensuring a plentiful supply of drinking water is a major problem for us. Due to the lack of rain water, we are totally dependent on groundwater, part of which is contaminated by salt water. It’s a direct result of climate change.
We also need to protect our islands against erosion and the rising sea level. The smallest islands can shift but this is not true of the houses built on them; that is our problem. The cost engineering work required to address this type of problem is astronomical and the budget required to protect our coastline would run into billions of dollars.
What do you think is the most appropriate level for fighting climate change?
Action must be taken at all levels: domestic, local, regional and national. But it must be a grassroots movement if governments are to react. We will only see real solution to our problem when fighting climate change becomes an election issue.
In your speech, you underline that there is no time to lose and that technical solutions already exist.
Quite right! There is no reason to wait and in any case, the Maldives cannot afford to. For the Maldives, the danger is just around the corner! The more people use technology to fight climate change by emitting less carbon and fewer greenhouse gases, the more efficient and more affordable these technologies will become. If I am not mistaken, you did not wait for the turbo engine to be invented before running trains, you used steam first!