Bridging the climate crisis through a just energy transition and fighting depopulation will be the “green” workhorses of the new Government, which will have for the first time a vice-presidency that will add all these challenges to the urgency of passing a Change law Climate.
The Vice President for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, has the following challenges on the horizon:
To tackle the climate crisis in a transversal way with the adoption of “green” policies that involve the greatest number of ministries, a commitment that was evident in the recent climate summit (COP25), which was held in December in Madrid.
The professional recognition of Teresa Ribera, elevated to one of the four vice presidencies of the new Executive, demonstrates Pedro Sánchez’s political commitment to stand up to the climate crisis from the highest levels.
2. CLIMATE CHANGE LAW
Among the promises of the Government is the urgent approval of a law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, when it is almost a year since the Council of Ministers considered its preliminary draft.
This was recognized by Pedro Sánchez in his investiture debate, where he also pledged to promote the development of the draft of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) and the Fair Transition Strategy.
2. ECOS OF THE CLIMATE SUMMIT
The recent COP25 confirmed the relevance of curbing a climate emergency with scientific evidence and as the main demand of a society that mobilized young people and activists from all over the world.
In addition, the creation of a vice-presidency was a historic request of environmental organizations, which have welcomed with great satisfaction the measure announced by the Government.
3. OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL PRIORITIES
The new Government will also place the commitment to the protection of biodiversity at the forefront by expanding the network of protected areas, with adequate financing that guarantees policies for the defense of biodiversity and management of these spaces.
It will guarantee a dignified treatment of animals through the promotion of an Animal Welfare Law, an increasingly clamorous demand of society, according to Pedro Sánchez.
Likewise, it will guarantee the quality of the air in the cities, with the commitment to promote agreements that allow delimiting areas of low emissions in populations of more than 50,000 inhabitants.
And water management will also be capital, with the elaboration of a national plan for purification, sanitation, efficiency, saving and reuse of water that consecrates this resource as a human right and not as a commercial good.
The Executive will promote a Circular Economy Strategy to reach zero waste in the 2050 horizon and will promote the approval of a single-use Plastics Law, with a focus on key sectors, such as construction, food, tourism, packaging, packaging , textile, electrical and electronic manufacturing.
It will also develop a Sustainable Mobility Law, promote public transport financing, implement a scheme of economic aid for the electric vehicle and promote the 2019-2025 Commuter Plan, among other measures in this area.
Plans to limit the most polluting vehicles, the closure of nuclear power plants with a deadline in 2035 and water transfers between basins will continue to be, predictably, the most controversial “green” issues during the next term.
4. FAIR TRANSITION
The Government of Sanchez will create the Fair Transition Institute, as an evolution of the Mining Basin Institute and with the development of urgent action plans for the regions affected by the closure of coal and nuclear power plants with a known schedule.
It must also develop legal norms to reform the electricity market, so that the reduction in costs of renewables is transferred to the price of electricity.
At present, the demand is covered first with the cheapest technologies and then more expensive ones are gradually incorporated, but in the end they all charge the price of the last one that has entered, which is the highest, including those that have lower cost in the generation, such as hydraulics and other renewable.
The modification of the electricity bill is another of the objectives that the Government partners have set, reducing the term of power (the one that is paid for the contracted power and not for consumption), so that the cost for the first kilowatt hours is lower than the following and encourage energy efficiency.
Other challenges will be to reform the electric social bond to create a general one that includes the gas bond, as well as modify the requirements, rules and calls for renewable auctions so that local, citizen or cooperative entities can participate.
The regulation of self-consumption, for which a royal decree-law was already passed during the last socialist government, will be another of Teresa Ribera’s tasks, which will continue working to repair small investors affected by the cut to renewables.
5. THE DEMOGRAPHICAL CHALLENGE
Reversing the situation of the areas of the Spanish geography that have been emptied due to lack of opportunities is another of the Government’s challenges since the vice presidency of Teresa Ribera, for which it has announced a strategy to combat depopulation, connectivity and Support to the young population.
In at least twenty rural regions, where urgent intervention is required, depopulation offices will be created to support the people or companies that want to settle in the area.
In addition, Ribera will have to respond to the claims of the entities of the so-called empty Spain that demand concrete actions and demand a State Pact for the repopulation.