The Congress of Deputies has approved this Thursday the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, the first regulation of this type that Spain will have. It is a law that must serve for the country to comply with its international commitments to combat warming: reach climate neutrality by 2050 (that only greenhouse gases are emitted that can be captured by sinks, such as forests) . In practice, this means that by mid-century the Spanish economy will have to be almost completely disengaged from fossil fuels.
To achieve that goal by 2050, the regulation establishes specific goals in 2030 – such as 74% of electricity being from renewable sources on that date – and measures to promote clean energy and emission-free vehicles. In addition, in 2030 the greenhouse gas emissions of the country as a whole should have been reduced by 23% compared to 1990. This objective will be periodically revised upwards and the first revision will be made in 2023.
In video, statements by the Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, on the Climate Change Law.
The law, which Congress demanded a decade ago and which the majority of parties have been promising for years, has gone ahead this Thursday – 22 votes in favor, 5 against and 10 abstentions – in the Ecological Transition Commission thanks to the support of the majority. of the groups that made Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) president, to which Ciudadanos has joined. More Country and the PP have abstained. Only Vox has voted against the law. The rule will now go to the Senate and, if it is not amended, it could be definitively approved in May.
Read here the most important measures of the future Climate Change Law
The socialist deputy Germán Renau has assured during the debate that it is “a very ambitious law and perfectly aligned with European objectives.” “It is a day for history,” he added. “We are facing a good law,” said Juan López de Uralde (United We Can), who recalled the enormous delay of Spain in implementing this rule: “The first European country to approve an exchange law climate was the UK in 2008 ″.
The main body and the philosophy that surrounds the norm were devised a little over two years ago by the team of the fourth vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition, the socialist Teresa Ribera. But during the parliamentary processing of the law PSOE and United We Can have acted together to negotiate the modifications with the rest of the groups.
The government’s lack of political backbone and interest in negotiating changes has been one of the most repeated criticisms by the parties during the debate prior to the vote on the law in Congress. “We can not support it”, has concluded Diego Gago, of the PP, after reproaching that their amendments have not been accepted. However, finally the PP has opted for abstention and not for trying to block the law with its vote against. The popular, according to sources from this party, are aware of the risk that it could have for them to be against the first Spanish law against climate change. The norm has been demanding for years not only environmentalists, but also a fundamental part of the country’s economic sector. In addition, opinion polls show more and more clearly the majority support of the population for the fight against climate change.
That same economic sector that demanded the law to have a roadmap of this climate transition with certainties also asked for a consensual norm. Several parties have reproached the Executive on Thursday for not succeeding. María del Carmen Martínez, from Ciudadanos, has warned of the “risk” that the same thing happens as with the laws that undergo constant modifications depending on the party that La Moncloa occupies. “The law needs stability over time to avoid insecurity,” Martinez said.
Lack of ambition
If from the parties to the right of the PSOE and United We Can, the main criticism has been the lack of negotiation, from the left parties – as well as from the environmental NGOs – the reproaches have come for the lack of ambition. “The level of ambition of the law is far below what the United Nations is asking for,” criticized Inés Sabanés, from Más País, who has decided to abstain for this reason. The green deputy has argued that the objective of the 23% reduction was “perfectly revisable” to incorporate the positive impact that the European funds linked to the recovery plan will have on the decarbonization of the economy.
Read here the analysis on criticism of the law for lack of ambition
Vice President Ribera has described this Thursday the rule as “enormously ambitious”. But he has assumed that “there is room to continue improving.” In fact, at the last moment of the law’s processing, a clause has been included in which the cutback targets will be revised upwards in 2023. The representatives of PSOE and United We Can have also defended that the proposed objectives are ambitious and that if it does not go further now, it is because of the historical delay that Spain is dragging in reducing its greenhouse effect emissions. While the European Union as a whole reached the peak of emissions in 1990 – and since then they have fallen continuously – Spain did not achieve it until 2007 for a mixture of economic reasons and a lack of measures to eliminate greenhouse gases.
Among all the measures, the mobility-related package is perhaps the most important. Because, as the socialist deputy Germán Renau has highlighted, this sector is lagging behind in the decarbonisation process, which means that, instead of being reduced, transport emissions continue to increase, until now, almost 30% of all greenhouse emissions in the country.
The main objective is to achieve by 2050 “a fleet of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles without direct emissions of CO₂” (carbon dioxide). And for this, in 2040 new vehicles, not intended for commercial use, that emit CO₂ will not be able to be sold. In addition, all municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants must adopt sustainable mobility plans that, among other issues, include low-emission zones similar to those launched in Madrid and Barcelona. The Government plans, in addition to approving a sustainable mobility law, to present shortly a package to promote the electric car and the installation of recharging points.
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