Spain

   

Environmental Policies

#17
Key Findings
Reversing a trend of comparative inattention, Spain falls into the upper-middle ranks (rank 17) with regard to environmental policy. Its score on this measure has improved by 1.1 point since 2014.

Government policy in recent years has not focused on environmental sustainability. The new Sanchez government has combined environmental and energy policies into a single ministry. Previous climate goals appear unattainable under current legislation and tools. However, a new climate-change law setting new emissions targets, and promoting renewables, has been under discussion.

Coal-fired electricity plants have been closing. The new government is not blocking the decommissioning of such plants, reversing its predecessor’s policy. Air quality is a serious problem in the large cities, but municipal governments are addressing the issue.

The country is committed to existing multilateral environmental regimes, and is a member of the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, in which states vow to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The government has supported the construction of wind farms in developing countries.

Environment

#23

How effectively does environmental policy protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment?

10
 9

Environmental policy effectively protects, preserves and enhances the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy largely protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy insufficiently protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 2
 1

Environmental policy has largely failed to protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
Environmental Policy
5
Spain enjoys exceptionally diverse natural habitats; however, government policy has not provided sufficient safeguards regarding sustainability or general environmental quality in recent years. In 2018, new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez merged environment and energy policies into a single ministry “for the ecological transition,” underlining his government’s commitment to environmental sustainability. However, Spain’s anti-climate-change efforts remain insufficient, with country slated to reach a series of intermediate goals that seem today seem unattainable under the current legislation and tools available. A new law on climate change and energy transition was under discussion at the end of 2018, which would set a 2030 emissions target at 20% below 1990 levels, and promote renewables.

As the country is extremely dependent on external energy supplies, government strategy during the period under review was also aimed at encouraging energy savings. Iberdrola, the country’s largest energy company, announced the closure of its last coal plants in 2017, and the new government, revising its predecessor’s opposition, said it would not block the decommissioning of coal-fired plants. Air quality remains a big problem in big capitals such as Madrid and Barcelona, but local governments in both cities have approved measures to reduce pollution. In terms of protecting natural resources and biodiversity, the country has a mixed record.

Citations:
October 2018, El Pais: “Why Spain is failing to meet EU climate targets”- https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/07/10/inenglish/1531208963_491007.html


June 2018, El Pais:, “Pollution has killed 93,000 people in Spain”
https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/06/22/inenglish/1529657491_406807.html

Global Environmental Protection

#12

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, fosters their advancement and initiates appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally fosters their advancement or initiates appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but neither fosters their advancement nor initiates appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
7
Spain is committed to existing multilateral environmental protection regimes (including the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals). During the period under review, the Spanish government supported the efforts of the COP 24 climate summit, and reinforced its intention to preserve the global environment, including through the creation of a High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda with horizontal competences across the entire public administration. The Spanish government also supported several foreign projects (such as the construction of wind farms in developing countries and the establishment of the Ibero-American Network of Climate Change Offices, in conjunction with Latin American countries), as well as emissions-trading projects aimed at helping the country comply with its pledges to reduce national CO2 emissions. More importantly in terms of international initiatives, Spain joined the Carbon Neutrality Coalition. The members of the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, which include Canada, Denmark and the United Kingdom, have vowed to reach a state of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Citations:
Climatechangenews.com, (2018), 19 countries team up to go carbon neutral, http://www.climatechangenews.com/2018/09/28/19-countries-team-go-carbon-neutral/
November (2017), “Progress toward Europe’s climate and energy targets”
https://www.eea.europa.eu/ themes/climate/trends-and-projections-in-europe/trends-and-projections -in-europe-2017/index
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