“WE all need to start acting with the urgency that an emergency demands,” Gibraltar’s Deputy Chief Minister said at the start of a sustainable construction conference.
Joseph Garcia was speaking at the start of the Aspire conference at where public and private professionals met to learn how they could build greener.
He challenged delegates to ‘change the way things have traditionally been done’ in order to reach the Net Zero targets his government has set.
The keynote speaker at the June 9 event was renowned environmental campaigner Tony Juniper.
It also included a full line-up of top panellists from home and abroad, interactive workshops and a Trade Zone.
In his opening address, the Deputy Chief Minister spoke of his desire to see the government working with developers and contractors to put the local community first in the design of new buildings.
“In 2019 the Government was elected precisely on a manifesto which aspired to the best Gibraltar: to deliver a greener environment, to lay the foundations for a child-friendly city, and to change the way things have traditionally been done,” he said.
“We have made important strides in this respect over the years, but construction and development will have a disproportionate effect here given Gibraltar’s small size.”
He warned that ‘the private sector cannot simply put profit above quality of life’, in a government statement.
The Gibraltar Parliament declared a climate emergency in 2019 and passed the Climate Change Act.
Unlike other places, the government aims to take these goals seriously, aiming for a Net Zero of carbon emissions by 2045.
To reach that goal, he said the government will ‘put the climate emergency at the top of the agenda’ across departments and agencies.
Under the keen eye of environment minister John Cortes, it established an independent Climate Change Committee to oversee this work and hold the government accountable.
Already, Minister for Transport Paul Balban, who along with Cortes was at the conference, has started on his cycle lane project.
But as Garcia explained, this was a team effort where ‘technology and innovation’, but also ‘a revolution in attitudes’ would play their parts.
He thanked the businesses that had support the Aspire conference, which he said, ‘reflects a commitment on the part of the industry to improve the way we do things’.
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