As neither the telegraph, nor the telephone, nor the television did, internet (email, search engines, social networks, videoconferences) will not lead to reduced human mobility, but quite the opposite: exchange and distance learning make you feel more and not less to move, because what limits to a greater extent leaving home is precisely the ignorance of what lies beyond (scary or not know the attractions) and not its opposite. Not to mention the increase in world population, at least until 2050, their youth and the progressive increase in their economic capacity as factors that will keep global mobility on the rise.
So do we have to oppose this mobility and minimize it, to avoid its effects or do we have to channel it and make it compatible with the objectives of territorial and environmental sustainability? For me the progressive answer is the second and more from Barcelona (and Catalonia), here and now.
The capital in mobility is one of the ways to be one of the network nodes and complements two other strategic options for Barcelona: lto attracting talent and investments in the leading cultural and technological sectors and the Mediterranean capital of Europe
First of all, because I am far from thinking in terms of catastrophism, I don’t believe in degrowth as a desirable and fair option and I see the decrease in mobility options as a social and even moral backwardness (also in the field of migration, but this would be the subject of another article). Second, because playing a role of capitality in international mobility is essential for Barcelona (and Catalonia), if you really want to be part of the first level of world development that is increasingly organized around a global network of dynamic and interconnected cities (Many cities, some much larger than us, that are not part will want to do so and we can therefore be left out at any time, if we permanently lose the momentum of the 1990s). The capital in mobility is one of the ways to be one of the network nodes (The pharmaceutical capital lost to the European Medicines Agency was another) and it also complements two other strategic options for Barcelona: the talent attraction and investments in the leading cultural and technological sectors and the Mediterranean capital of Europe.
For this reason, if the opportunity to have an airport ‘hub’ in Barcelona arises as Aena proposes (the previous attempt through Spanair, which I knew closely as deputy mayor of the City Council, was ignored and boycotted by many sectors that now sigh for the ‘hub’), with the expansion of the El Prat-Josep Tarradellas airport, you have to take advantage without regret if it respects, as it can clearly do, the rules set by the EU in relation to to the impact on the natural environment of the Llobregat delta. Betting on the infrastructure of a hub airport, which welcomes transoceanic flights and distributes them into flights to cities 800-1000 km away, in addition to receiving flights to the final destination, is a decision that has to be made as quickly as possible because its implementation will be complicated and the world is not waiting for us (the flights that do not come to El Prat will not stop being made, they will go to another place).
And choosing to try to make Barcelona an airport hub is not incompatible with contribute to the fight to reverse climate change: it is fully feasible to tackle the reduction of emissions, beyond air traffic (which represents 2-3% of global emissions worldwide), cConnecting the AVE with the airport, to give continuity to the routes of less than 800-1000 km, achieving the neutrality of the airport facilities and keeping the airport less than 15 km from the city center connected by metro.
Barcelona’s (and Catalunya) fight against climate change It should not make us lose collective opportunities for social and economic development, such as being on the map of international airport connectivity, but rather winning by leading the conversion of the automobile industry towards the electric vehicle, the return of the centrality of rail transport in the short and medium distance (metro, tram, rail for passengers and freight) or the impact of the completed rehabilitation of homes in energy efficiency (14% of the world’s total global emissions).
Let’s not get confused again and let’s explore in depth the possibility of making Barcelona the airport hub of the western mediterranean: the project deserves it and our country needs it.