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Spain begins to design its strategy against climate change with science, NGOs, administrations and companies

Spain has begun to outline the foundations of the announced Law of Climate Change and Energy Transition, which the Government wants to have ready in this legislature and include in it the participation of the entire society, scientific knowledge, the private sector, the different administrations that they must apply mitigation and adaptation measures to climate change.

To this end, the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has inaugurated Thursday the conference ‘Together for Climate’ to collect priorities, positions and demands of different sectors and gather opinions about future state policy against global warming that allows Spain to comply with the objectives acquired within the framework of the European Union and after ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement.

This Thursday, three working groups have analyzed both mitigations, from the agricultural sector, livestock, forestry, and food; the importance and adaptation to climate change in Spain and, thirdly, solutions to cities.

The issues have been debated by the academic and scientific sector, civil society, the private sector, public and territorial administrations and political groups, which have contributed their conclusions for future regulations.

Specifically, all parties have agreed on the message of the need for the future law to opt for a vertical coordination of strategies, with respect to the competencies of the different administrations, state, autonomous and municipal, which, in turn, is coherent and establish ambitious objectives, quantifiable and evaluable indicators that allow a transition towards a decarbonised economy without neglecting the search for social justice and education.

From the civil society, they have demanded that the future norm has an independent evaluation and with added social objectives and indicators, such as gender, social awareness; of agro-ecological transition, such as the reduction of chemicals or industrial livestock, that promotes a sustainable diet and the reduction of food waste. In short, they urge to develop a roadmap with a participatory process that includes a physical space for debate with sufficient time and means.

Meanwhile, the private sector has argued that the agri-food and forestry

sectors are “strategic” for climate change and that the law should be based on an “incentive and non-punitive principle” that requires efforts, but that it can be fulfilled and that it provides legal security and avoids the lack of coherence between the Government, the autonomous and municipal communities to confront climate change. In addition, remember that all this should allow the “obligation” to feed society and allow the competitiveness of the sector while calling for positive discrimination of renewables.

On the other hand, from the Territorial Administrations, it considers that the mitigation should be established with sectoral reduction efforts, with a law that includes specific objectives whose compliance is mandatory and that allows, in turn, flexible regulatory mechanisms.

In any case, the strategy – and this has been a constant in the different roundtables and sectors – must be transversal, so that it affects all the areas that are reorganized in a coherent manner, with adequate budgets and with policies that link all sectors and, on the other hand, vertical, that is to say that it is applied in all the administrations (state, autonomous and municipal) in a way that complements each other but that each one “has clear” the competences of each one.

This sector also advocates measures of taxation, transparency and promotion of organic farming, renewable energies, forest policies and incentivized consumption of carbon footprint and sees communication with citizens as fundamental.

From the financial sector, it is intended that in the future law and strategy to combat climate change in Spain first evaluate the situation and then legislate and then re-evaluate the policies that are applied and that taxation, incentives, and Ecological taxes serve to achieve the objectives but have a “vocation to disappear” once achieved. Also, the financial sector has shifted its commitment to loans rather than aid because he warns, there is currently “a lot” of financing that is not being used.

For their part, parliamentary groups with an unusual consensus have called for a lasting legislative framework, with ambitious goals in both mitigation and adaptation and that the future law be based on the knowledge of scientists “in line” with respect for the environment and the promotion of employment and, at the same time, make it possible to fight against food waste, agriculture and the sustainable forestry sector as CO2 sinks.

In this context, the director of Research of IH de Cantabria and research member of the IPCC, Íñigo Losada, has defined adaptation as “the poor brother” of climate change since there is still a “definitive” agreement that allows maintaining the increase in the temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and has highlighted the importance of adaptation policies for Spain where water and coasts are “especially vulnerable” to climate change.