The mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero, announced this Wednesday that from the year 2035 there will be no sale of gasoline vehicles in the city. The announcement, however, seems to have no hold. At least, in what has to do with the powers available to the president.
“Recognizing that Medellín is one of the most affected by climate change, that 82% of the greenhouse gases that are emitted in our territory come from mobile sources, the city has made the decision to prohibit the sale of gasoline vehicles,” he said.
The announcement was made from the Clinton Global Initiative, an event that takes place in the United States, where he added that the decision seeks, in addition to reducing greenhouse gases on the planet, to inspire other citizens and rulers of the world to join the “crusade to save the planet.”
The first concern that arose after the statement shared by the mayor this Wednesday has to do with his powers: Can a local president prohibit the sale of vehiclesregardless of its composition, or does the decision imply a broader discussion, which commits the Nation?
That, at least, is the path followed by other countries that have set themselves the goal of suspending the sale of gasoline vehicles in the future. The initiative should be exhausted through Congress and, later, become Law.
This is stated by Esteban Manco, Eafit’s constitutional lawyer, who explains that the project must be processed through a legislative procedure. Otherwise, if it is done by means of an agreement or district decree, its annulment could be demanded.
What would this imply? The possibility that it be eliminated because the Municipality – District is not competent to prohibit such sales; also, because it would be affecting merchants and freedom of enterprise.
Although the latter is not an absolute fundamental right, but rather a constitutional prerogative and may be limited, the limitation should not come from a territorial entity: the district and municipal councils and mayors do not have the power to legislate.
If this project is processed, it could be of a general nature for cities that suffer from certain pollution limits in their environmental contexts, which is what this prohibition seeks to minimize, but it could also be a specific project for Medellín.
What Mayor Quintero could do is present the project to Congress, but it has to be through the political quotas that he has there, like Senator Álex Flórez. This should then be discussed by the Senate and House benches, prior to obtaining the green light. It is, for Manco, a more than thorny process.
Juan Esteban Jaramillo, an expert in the automotive sector, agrees on this, for whom the decision goes beyond the powers of Mayor Quintero. “He can make traffic restrictions, but these types of measures do not correspond to him. The Ministry of Transport also has a very important role”, he expressed.
What do the unions say?
But the concerns, they say from Fenalco, not only have to do with the legal support of the mayor’s announcement. María José Bernal, director of that union entity, maintained that the decision took them by surprise: “Nothing was reported to us. We don’t understand anything,” she said.
Bernal added that businessmen from the automotive sector have not participated in any space for dialogue with the administration. It is not known what the work route was, he said, to make the decision. “Not even the Committee for the Promotion of Electric Mobility knew.”
For the moment, Jaramillo and Bernal agreed, the mayor’s statement only generates panic in the market. And it is not that the proposed transformation is viewed with disfavor, but rather that the matter is more complex: more time is needed and consensus with the mobility sector is needed.
“It is different to say that we are going to work to actively promote electric mobility in the city by 2035, than to say that the sale of gasoline cars is going to be prohibited. What will happen to dealers, companies, consumers? added Bernal.
In the same sense, Jaramillo spoke, who in addition to pointing out the mayor’s departure as a lightness, specified that This type of action must be projected in the long term. “How many years has Europe been thinking about that and hasn’t achieved it to date? I don’t see it as easy.”