Greenhouse gases last year were as high as in 1990. / sur

Spain looks unlikely to meet its climate change commitments

Figures show that far from reducing CO2 emissions, the levels increased by 5.9% last year and 9% in the first five months of this year

ALFONSO TORICES Madrid

It looks as if Spain will fail to meet its commitments to reduce greenhouse gases as agreed with the international community to slow down climate change, according to the Observatory of Sustainability. Its analysis of CO2 emissions in 2021 and the first five months of this year shows that in Spain, far from the commitment to cut them by 23% by 2030 compared with 1990, they have in fact been increasing.

The document says that Spanish emissions of greenhouse gases in 2021 increased by 5.9%, to the same quantity as in 1990. In terms of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere in the first five months of May this year, there was an increase of around 9%.

Fossil fuels

The main reason for the increases in these two years is that more CO2 is being generated by the use of fossil fuels in transport, with an increase of 13.9% in 2021 and another 14% up to May this year, and the still significant use of coal and other fossil fuels such as natural gas to generate electricity, due to insufficient commitment to and development of renewable energies (solar, wind and hydraulic).

The estimates for this year are a double blow. On one hand, if the increase in 2022 so far is confirmed to have been 9%, Spain will not only fail to comply with its part of the Paris Agreement, the worldwide pact to stop the Earth’s temperature increasing by more than two per cent in the whole of the 21st century, but will have produced the greatest increase in CO2 emissions in the past 32 years.

New law has had no effect so far

The other negative point is that, at least for the moment, Spain’s first Climate Change law which was approved a year ago, under which the country is due to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 23% before the end of the decade, has had no appreciable result.

In other words, most of the programmes and policies included in that law to replace fossil fuels and incentivise energy saving and effectiveness in transport, building and the services sector are still waiting to be applied.