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Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition

Following years of work, the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition will be approved in 2021. Some of its goals include reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 23% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. It will also promote renewable energies, emission-free mobility, the end of using hydrocarbons, environmental education, and the protection of biodiversity. Why is this law important?

What is climate change?

Climate change is simply a change in the climate. The current change is anthropogenic, which means that the origin of global warming is human activities. Specifically, the release of greenhouse gases (GHG) over several centuries is increasing the temperature of the atmosphere and the ocean.

The accumulation of pollutants and rising temperatures is harmful to health, and it impacts the biosphere, its ecology, and biodiversity. To name a few issues, it increases the ocean’s acidity, causes biomes to shift, and significantly reduces ecosystem complexity, making the biosphere more vulnerable to future events.

What is the Energy Transition?

The energy transition is a necessary step in decarbonizing the economy. It entails both creating and consuming energy. The focus tends to be on swapping out power plants and thermal mobilities for solutions like renewable or low-emission sources and electrification, though it is much more than this.

This transition is a period of adaptation from an economy that depends on fossil fuels to one without a carbon footprint. It also includes efficiency improvements with smart grids, more sustainable use of renewable resources, and changes in people’s habits.

What Spain’s Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition will be

The new Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition targets decarbonization as its main objective, but it also has environmental sustainability goals in other fields over the long term. These are some of its key ideas:

  • The end of hydrocarbons and uranium

Soon, it won’t be possible to open new hydrocarbon extraction operations in Spain, either on land or at sea. This includes fracking. New uranium surveys won’t be started, either. The existing ones have deadlines of December 31, 2042.

  • More renewables and less thermal generation

To reach the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050, it should be at 74% by 2030. At the end of 2020, 43.6% of all the energy generated was already renewable, according to REE, but that was not the case for energy consumed. Every 1% achieved becomes a little more complicated than the last, making this a long-term challenge.

  • Mobility: less gases in the atmosphere

Cities with 50,000 inhabitants must establish Low Emission Zones by 2023. They must also promote shared mobility (such as carsharing or Mobility as a Service) and mass public transportation, commit to the electrification of fleets, and move traffic away from schools and health centers.

  • Protecting biodiversity

It has long been known that people’s health depends on the biosphere and its biodiversity. Protecting the environment is an essential part of a climate law. That is why the conservation and restoration of ecosystems and species that are particularly vulnerable to climate change or anthropization will be encouraged.

  • The role played by companies and societies

Measuring environmental impacts will now be mandatory for large companies. They must submit annual reports on the risks that their activity may present to stay in compliance with the transition law. That way, challenges can be anticipated as we move forward.

  • Climate education

The law also involves including climate education as part of the school curriculum in the educational system. Environmental education is one of the basic pillars that have helped reach historic milestones such as these proposals, so it is essential for future generations to stay informed.

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