CO2 QUOTE Closing from Cierre del 11-04-2024 66,72 €/T

Teresa Ribera: “The social and political demand against climate change remains”

The fourth vice president of the Government and Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera (Madrid, 1969), receives EL PERIÓDICO after being in charge of coordinating the de-escalation and bringing to the Congress of Deputies the new Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, a norm that she foresees will serve as a lever of reconstruction for the country after the covid-19 crisis.

–The Government has sent the message that it maintains its green bet by approving the Climate Change bill. And not only that, he argues that it is a key bet for reconstruction, but during the previous crisis, climate change became the last priority.

We have enough lessons learned to think that recovery has to be done by consolidating the foundations of the future, not anchoring ourselves in what we already knew had a short journey. I have the impression that this is much better understood than it was ten years ago. In addition, we know that what a few years ago were more expensive solutions are not today. Many of the alternatives are more price efficient, more cost-effective, and free up resources for other things.

–Do the accounts come out? It’s key right now.

We have a lot to gain in our country by doing that. We know that we have technology, industrial production and electricity generation capacity in another way, which will avoid the cost of importing other types of energy goods. We know that we depend on tourism which means to depend on nature, on beaches, on climate neutrality. The accounts come out from the point of view of the solvency of the strengths of our economy.

“But the opposition plays against it.

The social and political demand to do this is very great. What I hear from the parliamentary groups, with the exception of a single group, is that they are open to the energy debate and nobody denies the reality of science with regard to climate. We have young people, business groups…

“But this was before the crisis.

And now. They keep it. I’m sure that holds. On Thursday, a letter from people and representatives of very different institutions and companies sent to Parliament was published, emphasizing that the recovery of economic activity in Spain must be green. Among the signatories is my predecessor, Isabel García Tejerina.

Q: Does the government maintain its commitment to green taxation despite the crisis?

Yes.

–It will be difficult to defend an aviation tax when airlines ask for bailouts or the famous rise to diesel when the sector demands aid…

It is important to be firm and not deviate from the objectives but also to be flexible in integrating and adapting to the things that need to be done. There has to be an environmental taxation and there will be, although perhaps the emphasis placed on one thing or another can change depending on the moment. Does it make sense to force the rapid adoption of an aviation tax now? Well, I don’t know if it makes sense and if it is the priority of green tax reform. Maybe there are other elements that must be integrated before.

Is the diesel tax part of that flexibility?

The Treasury is evaluating it and now it will have to close the accounts, the budgets and will have to see it based on the fall in the price of oil and a commitment not to introduce more subsidies to fossil fuels except for social reasons.

–In the short term, does the Government plan to give aid to diesel and gasoline cars as requested by the sector to get out of this crisis?

In the short term, what we have very advanced is the package to accompany electric mobility. There is a request for accompaniment by the sector for conventional cars and incentives in the transformation of its lines that Industry is studying closely. But in principle, what we have on the table is what we have already been working on.

Q: Does the Government plan to advance investment in the renewable sector, accelerate auctions?

We had been ordering this matter and suddenly we have become disordered. The first thing was that no one had problems with the electricity bill, or with the supply, or with anything, we would see later how we solved the package. Now we have to reorder. We have to find business models for generation modes that have low operating costs but have to invest first; an electricity market that works because it has to meet the fixed costs of the system and a tax system that guides consumer decisions naturally towards efficiency and electrification of uses.

–When?

These are the three things we would like to resolve in an orderly manner this year. We are going to activate mechanisms that allow us to resolve this year. If they do not arrive by the normal route we will have to look for extraordinary measures. Our intention is that by the end of the year we will have all three mechanisms in place.

“So, will there be auctions this year?”

I trust that yes, but they cannot be done without a modification of the system of Nadal (Former Minister of Energy) because otherwise we would remain in a complex system, against the current of what the countries around us do, and we would not be able to transfer directly to the electricity bill the savings that renewables already represent today.

–The government eliminated the obligation to auction 3,000 megawatts per year in the drafting of the law

It made little sense. This was told to us by the Council of State. We can find that one year more needs to be auctioned and another year less is needed. The bet remains the same, the Integrated Energy and Climate Plan is clear and there has to be predictability to several years, but the calendar mechanism cannot be frozen in a law.

–The CNMC has criticized the new auction mechanism

We were very surprised by this somewhat ultraliberal vision of the CNMC indicating that auctions can only be made in a single way, and there can be no other values that weigh, especially in circumstances as justified as the need to generate employment and activity in areas where large thermal plants are closed that have been the main source of wealth for decades in the affected regions. It is obvious that auctions must capture the best price, but there may be other securities and public goods that need protection and auctions by technology or with elements of social interest. In our opinion, in cases like this, it is fully justified for the Government to offer other references in the award criteria that modulate the weight of the delayed price.

Source: The Newspaper