SANTIAGO – Presidential candidates and other representatives of Chile’s main political coalitions on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to fighting climate change, saying it was a key pillar of their platforms ahead of the November general election.
Journalist Beatriz Sanchez, candidate of the left-wing Broad Front, said during a forum in Santiago organized by Agencia EFE, Spain’s international news agency, that climate change was an issue her coalition takes very seriously.
“The group making content for the environment, sustainability and climate change campaign is the largest and most powerful,” Sanchez said.
The Broad Front candidate participated in the forum titled “The great challenge for Chile in the face of climate change,” which was inaugurated by Agencia EFE President Jose Antonio Vera and also attended by representatives of the presidential candidacies of the Chile Vamos (Chile Let’s Go) and New Majority coalitions, as well as the Christian Democratic Party and the Progressive Party.
Sanchez, who appears likely to secure enough votes on Nov. 19 to compete in a potential Dec. 17 runoff, said decisions needed to be made in the short term to mitigate the effects of climate change, a phenomenon she said was related to Chile’s development model.
“If we don’t gradually change our economic matrix, it’s going to be very difficult to cope with what’s going to happen in the coming years,” she said, adding that Chile needs to promote innovation and value-added processing and “not continue basically exploiting natural resources.”
The representatives of the other presidential candidacies also said in the forum that the fight against climate change must be state policy and backed the commitments set forth in the Paris Agreement.
Luis Cifuentes, an environmental expert and member of the campaign team of the Vamos Chile candidate, former President Sebastian Piñera, stressed the adverse effects that global warning will have on aspects such as water availability and infrastructure.
He therefore called for less contaminating forms of electricity generation and underscored people’s power to change the current situation and achieved a more sustainable environment.
“We as people are the ones who change our reality. We can choose if we consume more or less,” said the adviser to Piñera, who leads in voter preference ahead of the November balloting.
For his part, Sen. Antonio Horvath, a backer of the ruling New Majority alliance’s hopeful, Alejandro Guillier, said that candidate’s proposals sought to position Chile as a leader in the generation of renewable energies.
Vera, Agencia EFE’s president, said at the start of the forum that the fight against climate change was “one of humanity’s main challenges.”
He added that now is the time for countries to adopt measures that ensure they are in compliance with the 2015 Paris climate accord.