Region of Catalonia in Spain declares a climate emergency

On 15 May 2019, the Catalan government declared a climate emergency.


Catalonia is a region comprising about 7.5 million people, who are hereby represented by a government that has at least officially acknowledged that the world is in a climate emergency. Local media commentators debate whether its plan to act is in accordance with the scale of the crisis.


→ La Vanguardia – 14 May 2019:
The Catalan government makes an official declaration of “climatic and environmental emergency”
“The Catalan government promises a new strategy on renewable energy, although it does not set a date, so several sectors dismiss the declaration as ‘symbolic and weak’.”

→ El Pais – 14 May 2019:
The government declares a climate emergency without specific measures to address it
“The government does not have a budget for commitments against climate change.”

→ El Mon – 14 May 2019:
The government formally declares a climate emergency
“The government wants to join the political institutions around the world in a state of alert to achieve the mitigation objectives established in the Law on Climate Change.”

 


The Catalan government’s climate emergency declaration


On its home page, the Catalan government writes:

The Government formally declares a climate emergency.
 
The Government has wanted to join the political institutions around the world that have formally declared a climate and environmental emergency to achieve the objectives in terms of mitigation and adaptation established in the Climate Change Law, which was adopted in the summer of 2017.
 
“The Government has a road map, but we are aware that more must be done. From the Government, but not only from the Government. We are in a situation where everyone has to act: companies, entities, civil society. It is necessary to help raise the awareness of the whole society,” stated a government spokesperson.
 
To this end, the Government assumes the following commitments:

• Adopt the administrative simplification measures necessary to eliminate the obstacles that could jeopardise the achievement of the objectives in mitigation and adaptation of climate change and energy transition.
 
• Increase incentives and prioritise public policies and resources aimed at the necessary transition to a 100 per cent renewable, denuclearised and decarbonised energy model, neutral in greenhouse gas emissions, which reduces the vulnerability of the Catalan energy system and guarantees the right to access energy as a common good, as set out in the Climate Change Law.
 
• Prioritise in public policies the options with less climate impact and greater contribution to the adaptation to the conditions derived from climate change.
 
• Adopt the necessary measures to stop the worrying loss of biodiversity and promote the recovery of ecosystems.
 
• Identify and accompany the sectors of the economy that have to make a transition, either to adapt to the new conditions derived from climate change, or to transform into activities of low greenhouse gas emissions, in a general framework of commitment to the circular economy and the creation of green jobs.
 
• Adopt measures aimed at reducing the vulnerability of those social sectors that are more sensitive to the impacts of climate change and those to which this transition may affect to a greater extent.

• Support a model of urban mobility based, on the one hand, on public transport, the shared vehicle and the modes of micro-mobility and, on the other, on zero-emission vehicles.
 
• Declare as strategic territorial interest the installation of solar photovoltaic installations that use advanced and efficient solar systems.
 
• Prepare, jointly between the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability and the Ministry of Business and Knowledge, a territorial strategy for the implementation of renewables, mainly wind and solar energy installations, necessary to develop the Catalonian energy transition and achieve the energy objectives set out in the Law on Climate Change.
 
• Urge Parliament to every year create a full report on climate change and its impact on Catalonia and on the measures of mitigation and adaptation that the Government adopts, especially those associated with the energy transition.
 
• Review the current Catalan legislation in order to identify those regulations that favour the emission of greenhouse gases or make it difficult to combat the effects of climate change.

 

Environmental and economic damages
According to the text approved in Parliament today, the Government sees with concern the impact that climate change has and will have on Catalonia and throughout the planet, and it understands that it is necessary to take greater awareness of the danger it represents, just as the scientific community continuously is alerting. In fact, apart from the obvious effects on ecosystems, the foreseeable effects of climate change can significantly harm our productive economy, from the negative affect on the operation and maintenance of many infrastructures to significant alterations of the environments in which they develop activities such as tourism, agricultural production, or the entire industry with intensive demands on water or energy. Likewise, their health impacts should not be neglected.
 
The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2018) on 1.5°C establishes the need to reduce global emissions by around 45 per cent by 2030 compared to 2010 levels and achieve zero net emissions for the 2050. Similarly, the latest report of the recently published Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES 2019) warns of the unprecedented decline in which the nature of the planet is found and the acceleration of the ratio of extinction of species.
 
In Catalonia, the Third Report on Climate Change (2016) highlights the difficulties that many sectors and ecosystems will have to face in the next decades in a warmer, drier climate, with a higher frequency of extreme phenomena, and within an environment that is already under heavy pressure on its water resources, which has undergone drastic changes in land use, with a strongly artificial coastline, an agriculture that is excessively focused on animal nutrition and a low level of self-sufficiency, in the production of food, a continuous loss of biodiversity, a weak development of renewable energy sources and urban environments often with too high levels of pollution, to give a few examples. All of them, elements of vital importance for the welfare of citizens and for the maintenance of a competitive, fair and cohesive society.
 
The Law on Climate Change Law turning point
The Law on Climate Change from August 2017 was a turning point and an answer to this challenge. The law was approved by a broad consensus of Parliament and includes ambitious objectives such as achieving neutrality in greenhouse gas emissions and a 100 per cent renewable electricity production model by 2050. Its implementation needs the determination and the committed action of all, civil society and economic sectors included, and of a very special leadership performance by the administrations at all levels of government.
 
On the other hand, the Government has adopted, with the participaton of civil society and economic sectors, the Natural Heritage and Biodiversity Strategy of Catalonia 2030, which establishes specific objectives and indicators. Civil society is making its voice heard, demanding governments and political institutions clear and forceful actions. This is the case of the youth movement #FridaysForFuture, which demands to have a future without the burden that climate change represents.”


→ Source: Govern.cat – 14 May 2019:
El Govern aprova el Pla Interdepartamental de suport a les famílies que preveu una inversió directa d’uns 700 milions d’euros

→ Catalan Government – 14 May 2019:
Catalan government declares climate emergency
“The executive has joined political institutions around the world in declaring a climate and environmental emergency with the aim of achieving the mitigation objectives set out in the Law on Climate Change”

UPDATE NOTE
The Government of Catalonia has updated the way they show the declaration on their website. They have added a nice little infographic in Catalan about the evidence behind climate change, what actions the government plans on taking, and some more general measures they plan as well. It’s mostly a summary of their declaration but now with an infographic.

→ See www.govern.cat





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: