Spain's Congress passes climate change and energy transition bill
Spain's minister for the ecological transition Teresa Ribera applauds at Congress member after the passing of the climate change bill. Image by Ministerio para la transicion ecologica (www.miteco.gob.es)
Spain’s Congress on Thursday approved the country’s climate change and energy transition bill, paving the way for the nation to rid itself of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.
The bill was already approved by the lower house in early April after almost a year of debate. Since then, it had since stayed in the Senate, which added some amendments, and even spent time improving the grammar in the text, before sending it back to the lower house for the final smack of the gavel. The bill will become law once it is published in the official state gazette.
Spain has now set itself an obligation to reach certain intermediate targets that are to help it fully decarbonise its economy by no later than 2050. The main targets include:
-- cutting the nation’s total GHG emissions by at least 23% compared to 1990 levels by 2030,
-- the share of renewables in the final energy consumption should reach at least 42% by 2030,
-- the electricity system should produce at least 74% of power using renewable sources by 2030,
-- energy efficiency should be improved by at least 39.5%.
The law leaves room for these targets to be revised up in line with scientific knowledge and the Paris Agreement obligations. The first such revision is due in 2023, according to the text of the bill.
Before 2023, all municipalities and island territories with population levels of above 50,000 should designate zones of low emissions to improve air quality. These areas will be required to implement measures to promote sustainable commute -- bicycles, electrified public transport, walking -- and establish intra-urban green corridors.
In about 21-27 months after the bill enters into force, filling station owners that recorded high annual sales of petrol and diesel in 2019 should have at least one charging station for electric vehicles for each petrol station. After 2040, there will be no passenger or light commercial vehicles running on fossil fuels on Spain’s streets.
Finally, once the bill becomes law, Spain will no longer issue concessions for the exploration or extraction of fossil fuels anywhere on its territory. Existing concessions cannot be extended beyond December 31, 2042, but requests for the exploration or mining radioactive minerals will no longer be admitted nor extended.
Tax benefits for energy products of fossil origin can only be granted if there are strong social and economic interests justifying them, or if technological alternatives lack.
Spain’s minister for the ecological transition Teresa Ribera literally applauded at the Congress members for passing the bill yesterday. Ribera, the bill’s proponent, told Spanish daily El Pais that Spain arrives to the climate change legislation with a delay.
“We should have had this law ten years ago”, Ribera said in the interview with El Pais.
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