We are part of the generation that has all the information. Today is in our hands: the Intergovernmental Panel of Experts on Climate Change (IPCC, in its English acronym), the largest investigative exercise on the consequences of global warming, explains that the most optimistic scenario – that the temperature of the planet increases 1.5 degrees centigrade – has fatal consequences for the quality of life of millions of people. And that exceeding this limit and reach a warming of 2 degrees, an issue that unfortunately we can not ignore, will have more serious effects: twice as many droughts, twice as many heat waves and twice as many extinctions of species, among others.
The data is what it is. It is not an exaggeration of committed advocates. History will be implacable with those who knowing today the extent of the climatic threat were not able to face the greatest challenge of our era.
In our country, especially vulnerable to rising temperatures, the present will be equally inflexible, as the climate commitment of Spanish society is incontestable, endorsed survey after survey and lived by all year after year, increasingly warmer and each more surprising times with the extreme climatic phenomena: fires, floods, droughts …
Surprisingly, in recent years, climate change has not been part of the public debate in Spain in the terms in which the issue deserves. Let's not talk, for example, of the risk of desertification to which we are exposed or of the industrial and economic opportunities that climate action provides. This must change urgently. There is no time to lose.
Delaying the action is too expensive to even contemplate. It is time to accelerate the transition to a new model of low carbon development, change the way we produce and consume, energy systems, the way we move or feed ourselves, and increase the protection of ecosystems and species, our best and cheapest "infrastructure" in the face of climate change.
The current commitments of the Paris Agreement, a historical milestone that Spain has to defend tooth and nail, lead us to a warming higher than 1.5 degrees. That is why the latest IPCC report is a call to action for countries to revise these commitments upwards in 2020.
The Government collects the glove launched by science, especially the valuable contribution of the Spanish researchers. Based on the scientific evidence, it will shortly present a preliminary draft Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition and an Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (2021-2030) with the aim of reducing the emissions of the Spanish economy as a whole by 20%. 2030 compared to 1990 and 90% in 2050, achieving carbon neutrality that year, and starting up before the end of the year a Just Transition Strategy so that this inescapable process of change leaves no one behind. Likewise, the adaptation – a question in which Spain is a pioneer – will play a fundamental role.
Activating the great transformation that the IPCC suggests to us is also a great opportunity for Europe. Climate action represents a common future project that deserves the attention of the European Council. Only if leaders reinforce their instructions and favor the coherence of domestic policies can we have a framework that is up to the necessary.
We must equip ourselves with a European fund to finance the energy transition and resilience to the impacts of climate change in the Member States, favoring the penetration of renewables, the efficiency of the entire infrastructure park built and the massive deployment of clean mobility solutions .
Spain must live up to this challenge. And this Government wants to favor the construction of bridges towards a secure future with courage, responsibility and full solidarity with the most affected. Our children will not forgive us if they do not do it.
Teresa Ribera is Minister for the Ecological Transition of the Government of Spain