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Ready in the oven, the Climate Change Law begins the final stretch for its approval

The Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition is heading towards the end of its processing. Last Thursday the deadline for the parliamentary groups to present their amendments ended, and now we have to wait to know the final text.

Since its draft was presented last January, the Bill was approved in the Council of Ministers, then passed to the Plenary of Congress and from there, to the Ecological Transition Commission, with the deadline for the presentation of the amendments that has just ended.

From now on, once the amendments that are approved by a majority have been incorporated, the Law will reach the Senate, which will approve it or not. If not, it will return to Congress for final approval. The deadlines are very tight for it to be ready by the end of the year, but if not, it will be at the beginning of 2021.

PSOE and UP

PSOE and Unidas Podemos go hand in hand and propose to increase the ambition of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, prohibiting uranium mining and bringing forward to 2030 the end of the manufacture of vehicles with emissions.

Among the main proposals to modify the Climate Change Law is to raise the emission reduction target for 2030 from 20% to 23% compared to 1990. An amendment that is surprising just when the European Parliament has approved a much more ambitious target, up to 60%.

They have also included an amendment that increases from 70% to 74% the share of renewables in electricity consumption by 2030 and from 35% to 42% the share of clean energy in final energy consumption by 2030. All this would mean raising the reduction of primary energy from 35% to 39.5%.

Renewable gases

Both parliamentary groups have agreed on their vision of renewable gases. Therefore, they have agreed to incorporate the promotion, through specific plans, of renewable gases, including biogas, biomethane, hydrogen and other fuels in whose manufacture raw materials and energy of renewable origin have been used exclusively or allow the reuse of organic waste or by-products of animal or vegetable origin.

The amendments also underline the importance of the climate fight and align it with the Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda and the framework for multilateral cooperation.

Precisely, in their position for the reduction of fossil fuels, they want to be more ambitious. They propose to modify Article 12 of the Law, which deals with the promotion of emission-free mobility.

Sustainable mobility

The coalition wants the government to put in place the appropriate measures to achieve by 2050 a fleet of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles without direct CO2 emissions.

And municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and island territories will adopt sustainable urban mobility plans, no later than 2023, with low-emission zones or mobility measures related to healthy habits.

They also propose to add a new additional provision on rail transport. They say that the government will promote the use of the public railway, and for the transport of goods over distances of more than 300 kilometers.

Citizenry

The orange formation, for its part, has presented its plan of amendments. These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33% by 2030 compared to 2005. It is a goal that might seem much more ambitious than that of the parliamentary groups on the left, but it takes as a reference a year where co2 levels in the atmosphere were much higher.

They also want to achieve by 2030 a penetration of renewable energies in the final energy consumption of at least 32%, ten points below the previous formations.

And reach by 2030 an electricity system with at least 70% generation from renewable energies, very similar to their counterparts on the left.

There is another aspect that the Law does not explicitly include, such as the concept of circular economy. Ciudadanos wants to emphasize that “we must facilitate the decarbonization of the Spanish economy and its transition to a circular model.”

Another point that he wants to be highlighted in the Law is the development of interconnections, and proposes that in 2030 the percentage rises to 15%.

Technological neutrality

For the parliamentary group, the criterion of technological neutrality must be applied in the use of public resources to finance, encourage or support policies and measures aimed at mitigating climate change.

All technological alternatives that allow, in a cost-efficient way, to achieve the objectives included in this Law will be able to choose, under equal conditions, to obtain aid or public financing, they say in their amendments.

Therefore, in the chapter on renewable gases, they also propose to add the reuse of industrial waste and gases from industrial processes, and those from the chemical conversion of CO2 capture.

Mobility

For C’s, the establishment of low-emission zones may be delayed until 2030 and, in addition, for the electrification of the public transport network, other fuels without greenhouse gas emissions can be used, such as biomethane and other sustainable alternative fuels.

In addition, the establishment of low-emission zones will be carried out under a harmonized framework at national level and in coordination with all public administrations.

They agree to give more priority to the use of the railway. In their amendment 28 they state that “a Priority Action Plan for rail freight transport will be established before the end of 2021”.

Finally, they call for a change in fiscal policies. “Spanish public administrations will fiscally encourage actions that favor adaptation to climate change or the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, when technically and economically possible.”

People’s Party

The popular parliamentary group appeals “to consensus and agreement” to agree on the objectives of the future Law to combat climate change, which will require “generosity and attentive and calm readings.”

For this formation, the fight against climate change is not a struggle of either the left or the right: “Moreover, these inalienable obligations have their spearhead in the Paris agreement led by Arias Cañete.”

It highlights that the fundamental objective of climate neutrality by 2050 has tools such as the Just Transition Fund, and calls on the Government “certainty” so that companies can invest in reducing emissions

He emphasizes the importance of protecting the value chain, because “the pandemic has taught that value chains such as the agri-food industry have allowed us to continue supplying fundamental materials.”

Therefore, it proposes to have “all the technologies and energies available trying to comply with the objective of climate neutrality, but guaranteeing environmental sustainability, the economic efficiency of the energy transition as well as security of supply”.

That is, it defends technological neutrality. It also advocates increasing interconnections with Europe, as agreed in March 2015. Then the interconnection with France and Portugal was sealed, both gas and electricity.

Interconnections, he believes, favor equal opportunities for Spaniards with the rest of Europeans, lower the electricity bill and drive greater growth in renewable energy.

Source: The Spanish