Spain: The Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy (EECCEL) and The Sustainable Economy Act
In Spain, two of the most well known national policies affecting greenhouse gas emissions are the Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy (EECCEL) and the Sustainable Economy Act. While Spain has had many challenges in reducing its carbon emissions and sustaining growth in the renewable energy sector due to its recent economic crisis, these two policies show promise that Spain is still dedicated to a future with cleaner energies.
The Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy was put into place in 2007 and is expected to run until 2020. Its policies, which were formally implemented in 2008, aim to reduce greenhouse gases, promote research, educate the Spanish population, reduce energy consumption, and encourage the development of clean energies. Additionally, the EECCEL has a section entirely dedicated to the challenges of reducing emissions in the transportation sector. The success of the EECCEL is difficult to pinpoint since some of its policies were unfortunately taken out of effect in 2012 due to the country’s economic issues, such as the Feed-in Tariff scheme. However, the Strategy as a whole remains in place and its success is currently being monitored using such indicators as greenhouse gas emissions at regional and national levels, energy consumption in public administration buildings, the number of municipalities with their own climate change strategies, and more. Although Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the statistics alone reflect a bleak situation, it is important to remember that the Central Government of Spain was needed in order to pass the EECCEL and therefore, the urgency of implementing effective environmental policies is very much a priority for the government.
The concept of the Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy came out of the need to provide a type of environmental common ground among the national government, autonomous communities, provinces, and municipal levels of government. The political atmosphere in Spain is often tense because of some regions’ long history of fighting for autonomy. As a result, the different regions of Spain have quite a bit of independence in choosing which policies will be enacted in their own governments. The EECCEL is in part meant to provide a reference for the standard of environmental politics in Spain and, as a whole, the autonomous communities have done an excellent job of enacting their own policies that adhere to the standard. Clearly, the EECCEL is unique to Spain, and if another country wanted to adopt it, that country would need to take into account its own political atmosphere in order to retain its effectiveness.
The Sustainable Economy Act was approved by Parliament in 2011 and is expected to run until 2020. The purpose of the Act is to boost Spain’s economy and to prevent another economic crisis. Specifically, it will encourage innovation and efficiency in the renewable energies industry, support research efforts, minimize energy dependency, facilitate the creation of companies, foster growth, and enable Spain to compete in the international market.
The success of the Sustainable Economy Act is being measured using the goals depicted in the image below.
The policy came out of efforts to prevent another economic fallout and to help Spain recover from its current situation. The Sustainable Economy Act could likely be adopted by another country facing similar circumstances. The way in which any other country would adopt it would depend on which topics need attention. In Spain, the major issues affecting the economy are the unemployment rate and energy dependency. Another country wanting to adopt similar legislation would need to identify its areas of focus.
The Sustainable Economy Act and the Spanish Strategy of Climate Change and Clean Energy prove that the Spanish government is dedicated to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, and finding ways to improve their economy and international standing in the process.
The anticipated effect of the Act has been calculated and is summarized in the image below.