Spain declares climate emergency, signals move to renewables

The Spanish left-wing coalition government on Thursday (27 February) scored its first major political success, after the Parliament in Madrid approved the expenditure ceiling, a preliminary step for approving the new budget for the four-year legislature, EURACTIV's partner EuroEFE reports. [Emilio Naranjo/EPA/EFE]

Spain’s new government on Tuesday (21 January) declared a “climate emergency” and pledged to unveil a draft bill on transitioning to renewable energy within its first 100 days in office.

In a statement announced after the weekly cabinet meeting, the government committed to bringing a draft bill “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050” — effectively net-zero carbon emissions.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s leftwing coalition government, which took office on 13 January, also committed to updating the national plan for tackling climate change.

The government has decided to ensure that “climate change and the transition is the cornerstone for all (ministerial) departments and governmental action,” spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero told reporters.

Environment Minister Teresa Ribera said the government had been inspired by French moves to create a public advisory panel “to generate ideas about responding to climate change in an inclusive, consultative way with a special focus on the youth.”

Last summer, France announced the creation of a citizens’ panel on climate change made up of 150 people who would offer ideas and views on an array of issues touching on climate change “in keeping with the spirit of social justice”.

At the end of November, the European Parliament voted to declare a “climate and environment emergency” in a symbolic gesture just ahead of the UN global crisis summit which took place in Madrid last month.

European Parliament declares climate emergency

The European Parliament voted by a large majority on Thursday  (28 November) in favour of a resolution declaring climate emergency in Europe, piling pressure on the EU’s new  Commission to deliver an ambitious European Green Deal after it takes office next month.

The motion urged efforts to ensure the “objective of limiting global warming to under 1.5 degrees C (35.7 degrees Fahrenheit)”.

It was followed by similar moves in a number of parliaments across the EU, notably in France, the United Kingdom and in Austria.

Pascal Canfin MEP: Time to declare climate emergency in Europe

The MEP chairing the European Parliament’s environment committee has called on the Assembly to declare climate emergency at the next plenary session in November. “It would be important to do it at that time,” he told EURACTIV in a wide-ranging interview.

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