The president, during his speech at the XIX National Infrastructure Congress, also spoke of the need to change the economic paradigm and his proposal to build a line railway that joins the Colombian Pacific and Atlantic
President Petro spoke of the move to clean energy that responds to the call made by the scientific community to take forceful actions to mitigate the effects of climate change. Photo: Presidency of Colombia, Twitter.
During his speech at the installation of the XIX National Infrastructure Congress, which is taking place in Cartagena and is organized by the Colombian Chamber of Infrastructure, President Gustavo Petro spoke of a change in the energy paradigm, connectivity in the country and his campaign proposal to build a railway line that joins the Pacific with the Colombian Atlantic.
Regarding the change in the energy paradigm, President Petro spoke of the transition to clean energy that responds to the call made by the scientific community to take forceful actions to mitigate the effects of climate change, which has accelerated the indiscriminate consumption of fossil fuels.
“In this discussion, it is sometimes terrifying that while science says one thing, politicians say another and companies say another. While the world says science, it was time to change if we want to live; the economic and political world says, let's not change. He traces it very well in the film Don't look up , a metaphor, cinematographic, but it shows it. It's like we're going with the open to suicide and we make excuses to keep ourselves on the road to suicide.”
To exemplify the need for a change that favors the use of clean energy, President Petro invited attendees to leave the Cartagena Convention Center, where the Infrastructure Congress is held, and go to the south of the city in where you will be able to witness “one of the greatest climatic disasters of humanity”, warning that billions of pesos have been invested that are underwater.
“Let's hang out a little bit. It is only going a few kilometers to the south of Cartagena, in the department of Bolívar, and you will see the greatest flood of time, that we know of, in the history of Colombia; A few kilometers to the south and you will see hundreds of thousands of people living among the contaminated water, and if you go to La Mojana, a little south of here, and if you go to the Magdalena side, a little south and east of here, or if you go south of here a few miles we won't take more than an hour by car and we'll find one of the biggest weather disasters for humanity right now.”
“There is an engineering problem here and it must be adapted to the Climate Crisis, which orders us around water and not against the water. Here a new engineering is necessary”, said President Petro. Photo: @MinistroReyes, Twitter.
Regarding the winter wave in Colombia, President Petro warned that it is a consequence of the climate crisis that the world is experiencing, noting that “there is an engineering problem, of adaptation to the climate crisis. The infrastructure must find the way in which we can withstand larger waves (in reference to climate change) without people dying, without destroying people's habitat.”
Regarding connectivity in the country, President Petro pointed out that Colombia is below the Latin American average, which is why it has “failed” in this matter, pointing out that the connectivity indicator should not be having a cell phone but rather the broadband that an average person can use.
“We have to move to the highest connectivity in the country. We have failed in connectivity. The result is not good. If connectivity is measured in real time, not in having a cell phone, because if that is the case, we all have a cell phone, there are even more cell phones than people. No. That's not the indicator. The indicator is the bandwidth that the average person can use in terms of connecting with the world and knowledge, not just distraction. That indicator is lower than the Latin American average.”
Then Petro warned that the failure in connectivity in Colombia, despite the fact that there has been progress in the matter, is moving the country away from the possibility of entering “into the new phase of the economic history of humanity”, for which he invited the sector to support public investment to expand coverage and connectivity in the country.
“I believe that public investments must be made to increase connectivity in Colombia. If we measure it in fiber optics, and in this there are various technological options, and look at the size or extension of the roads in Colombia, including the tertiary ones, 220,000 km, there should be 220,000 kilometers of fiber optics. How much do we have the 22,000, 25,000 km of fiber optics? The country is connected and disconnected, we are not advancing in the terms that are needed for connectivity, which I know leads us to the third phase of economic development in the country: connectivity. Can you help to substantially jump in connectivity coverage in the next four years? I leave the restlessness.
The Colombian Head of State invited the private infrastructure sector to join the initiative to connect the Pacific and the Atlantic with a line railway, which would be profitable when it comes to mobilizing food production in this area. Photo: @MinistroReyes, Twitter.
The president also spoke about his campaign proposal to unite the Colombian Pacific and Atlantic through a railway line, announcing that the national government could finance the studies for the project, noting that it is a profitable proposal to mobilize the food that is produced in the Colombian-Venezuelan highlands, for which reason it invited the private sector to join the initiative.
“How much does it cost? I agree; we can do the study, finance it. We could have that referent; perhaps it is not in our Government, perhaps there are several; but here a private initiative, which thinks in these terms of what food means in times of the climate crisis in the world, could perfectly find that it is absolutely profitable.”
Regarding his proposal for the railway between the Pacific and the Atlantic, Petro pointed out that “if that connection is achieved, it would undoubtedly be a new Colombia. With any possibility of agricultural, agro-industrial, food developments not only for Colombia, but for humanity”. Photo: Presidency of Colombia, Twitter.
Petro insisted that the project is viable and invited the world's cargo sector to see Colombia as the alternative to overcome the enormous congestion problems that the country is experiencing today. Panama Canal.
“Link the Pacific with the Atlantic to attract part of the cargo that moves in the world to finance our railway system, because our own cargo does not make it. The figure is a concession or APP (Public-Private Alliance) which is a derivation if you will; but if we link the Pacific with the Atlantic, we make a Bypass to the Panama Canal, which is congested. Then there is a load that would be available to finance that By pass.”