Andalucia Leads the Way in Combating “Diffuse Emissions”

Spotlight Activity: Andalucia Leads the Way in Combating “Diffuse Emissions”

On October 15th the autonomous region of Andalucia drafted a new law on measures against climate change. The measures put forth in this law will take effect in January of 2019 and will redefine what constitutes as greenhouse gasses by including “diffuse emissions” in their calculation. Diffuse emissions are unintended pollutants or runoffs stemming from a variety of sources, namely found within the transportation and agriculture sectors, that have negative effects on water or air quality. It is estimated that these emissions count for over half of Andalucia’s total emissions, and as such are a considerable proportion to overlook and not include. The Irish government is also actively researching the effects of diffuse emissions in their country. This legislation will result in new sector-specific emissions allowances that are a more accurate portrayal of the extent of climate change causing pollutants in each sector. Furthermore, it will establish a new GHG reduction baseline, a progressive 18% by 2030 based off of registered 2005 levels, which is an improvement upon the more relaxed abatement legislation passed in 2002.

The ramifications of this legislation will be enforced and evaluated under the auspices of the Andalusian GHG Emissions Inventory, the Climatic Environments of Andalusia, and the recently created Andaluz System for Emissions Registration (SAER), which will implement voluntary and
obligatory mechanisms to regulate Andalucian emission abatement.

Andalucia is the most populated autonomous community in Spain, and being the most southern, is highly susceptible to the effects of climate change, namely desertification. This law likely foreshadows some much needed “pasos progresivos,” progressive steps, that will be contained in the Andalucian Climate Action Plan, slated to be released by the end of the year. Aforementioned diffusion emissions are not currently recognized as GHG pollutants by the EU emissions trading system, and their recognition and inclusion by the Andalusian government could potentially reshape the future of EU climate change policies.

Status: Right Direction

The rest of the Spanish nation, as well as the EU, should follow the leadership of the Andalusian region and include diffuse emissions within emissions registration and trading. It is important for pollutants to be properly accounted for so as to reduce their effects on contamination, and subsequently climate change. The time to act is now.

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