Former Barcelona mayor Xavier Trias stated in an interview that “cars are related to pollution, but have nothing to do with climate change”. We decided to check it through different scientific reports. To analyse the claim, it was also necessary to consider the political context and to put Trias’ statement into relation to some recent European news.
Xavier Trias’ claim must be understood within the framework of the election campaign before the May 28 Spanish local elections. For this reason, we decided to divide the fact-check in two separate parts. Firstly, we analysed the political context in which the claim was stated, which is the electoral campaign in Barcelona. It is relevant to consider that Trias is trying to be the political alternative to Ada Colau, the current mayor, who is especially known for her environmental reforms, such as the implementation of the Low Emission Zone.
To sustain this part, we firstly listened to the interview organized by the digital newspaper Línia in which Trias made the claim. We also visited the Barcelona City Council’s website to check the official information related to Colau’s reforms and the current state of air quality policies in the city. After that, we consulted the main news agencies, such as the Catalan News Agency (ACN), and also the Twitter profile of some significant political actors, such as Trias, Colau and Elisenda Alamany, who reacted to Trias’ claim. All this media repercussion serves as contextual data that amplifies the scope of the claim.
Secondly, we checked the claim per se, taking into account recent scientific reports published by the main environmental institutions. In this case, we wanted to demonstrate two questions: (1) cars produce CO2 and other GHG and (2) CO2 is one of the main causes of climate change. On an international level, we especially considered the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the United Nations body devoted to climate change issues, but also the International Energy Agency. On a European level, we consulted the information published by the European Environment Agency and the European Parliament. To complement the information, we also checked some data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Finally, we also considered it important to highlight some recent news, both international and European, which help understand the climate emergency and the gravity of denying some scientific facts. We focused on the last call for action by the IPCC and the United Nations, and also on the ban approved last February by the European Parliament, which will forbid new petrol and diesel cars from 2035.
Read our fact-check on Xavier Trias’ claim here.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Berta Coll i Bosch. Universitat Pompeu Fabra.