“I am deeply thankful and this generates an additional energy to carry out a job, which is extremely broad from the point of view of the areas of action, but very concrete in regard to what needs to be done. This is climate action in all people, in all organizations, throughout the world.”
The eyes will be on Chile regarding climate change. What role does the country have to fulfill?
"There are many. One, of course, is to hold an exemplary event, which has to do with setting the conditions so that negotiations bear fruit, and that implies that Chile has to adopt a fairly neutral stance. The hosting country must, necessarily, adopt a rather neutral stance, so it is very important that the evidence Chile makes available, not be evidence in the room in the negotiation process, but rather what is happening in the streets, in the industries, whatever is happening at the level of NGOs, and the citizens. It is very important for us, to prepare an exemplary COP. This example is given in the concrete facts, not only in the event itself, but also on the path to the summit."
Change in culture
The fact that he has been named as the Champion of the COP25 is no coincidence. For 10 years, Gonzalo Muñoz has been leading TriCiclos, a company he founded together with two friends, which is now considered the most reputable recycling company in the country, with a presence in Latin America and which, at the beginning of 2019, received the Circulars award, the most important distinction worldwide in circular economy.
“I have a series of highly incorporated daily actions. For example, when I travel, half of my suitcase is with recyclable waste, and if I am not sure that they will be recycled in the place I am visiting, I bring them back to Chile. I live in an apartment where we make compost. In short, I try to reduce my carbon footprint to the maximum possible and the rest I compensate for, and, particularly, I always try to reduce my consumption levels in different areas, in such a way that my footprint in different aspects is the minimum possible.”
How essential is the change in culture towards the circular economy?
"I believe that there is no way we do not make radical progress with the circular economy. At TriCiclos and at the Viña Polkura, we are implementing highly concrete circular economy practices. In some cases, in terms of reducing the use of plastic materials, maximizing recycling, incorporating waste pickers into value chains and dynamically echoing business models. What we want to achieve is that the practices are not for only a niche or a small percentage of the population at the individual level, but that they are accessible to all."
Now or never
In the Paris Agreement, in 2015, it was established that countries should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to keep global warming below 2°C. But a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed, in 2018, that this is not enough, and global warming must remain below 1.5°C in order to reduce future consequences. That is why the COP25 was defined with the slogan "time to act" and is known as "the ambition."
How important is the event that will take place in our country?
"In this COP, it is understood that many stages of negotiation will be closed. These summits have been negotiated for decades. The interesting thing is that the Paris Agreement established that 2020 is the year in which different measures should begin to be implemented, therefore, it is understood that the event in Chile is where we have to roll up our sleeves and take action. With the IPCC report, we know that the action that was defined at COP21 in Paris is not enough, and we have to increase the ambition to reach those 1.5 degrees."
How can all Chileans contribute to this summit?
"It is important that we all get involved with our daily actions and with our purchasing decisions, in the vote, in the use of talent, in our conversations at the family level. All this makes it easier for us to move towards a culture that incorporates these issues in a forceful way. We have to educate our society with consciousness and actions, which contribute to solving the climate crisis. So, in the different areas, such as how each person lives their life, ranging from those who are students, others who are working, those who are politicians, those who direct a UN, an environmental movement, we all have a role that we can play, in which we can contribute to solving the problem of the climate crisis. It's time for action and nobody can stay out."