Spain Shuts Down 30 Coal Mines

Spain Shuts Down 30 Coal Mines

In July 2020, the government of Spain announced the closure of 15 coal-fired power plants, arguing the production of electricity was no longer profitable due to a combination of market conditions and political decisions by the European Commission. Coal emission prices make it so that it is more profitable for countries to produce green energy as opposed to coal or gas; for this reason, Spain has set the target to become a carbon-free country. A few years ago, the coal-fired power plants were responsible for approximately 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Spain. The Ministry for the Ecological Transition responsible for the development of the government policy regarding the fight against Climate Change has increasingly pushed electricity companies to create efficient work plans for affected areas in which green energy is involved.

On August 24, 2020, the fourth biennial report of Spain, which reports on one of the decisions adopted in the Conference of the Parties, was presented. This report was requested by the Framework Convention on Climate Change to the developed country Parties by decision 2/CP.17 and presents the results in accordance with the “Guidelines for the technical review of information reported under the Convention related to greenhouse gas inventories, biennial reports and national communications by Parties included in Annex I to the Convention”. An expert team conducted the report and it follows the national communications and emission inventories submitted by Parties. Furthermore, this document covers the measures taken by the Parties and the progress made in achieving the ultimate objective of the Convention. Spain provided information of its policy framework and cross-sectoral measures. Among the mitigation actions implemented by Spain are: increasing the use of renewable energy, reducing energy losses, improving energy efficiency in the energy and transformation sectors, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, switching to less carbon-intensive fuels, shifting from road to rail transport, promoting the use of electric cars, and managing energy demand. Other policies implemented for emission reductions are: the promotion of low-emission agricultural machinery, the introduction of payments for farmers for deploying agricultural practices that are beneficial for the environment, the implementation of climate projects based on purchases of verified emission reductions, and promotion of biomass-derived energies.

Climate Interactive, a “not-for-profit think-tank”, aims to engage academics, politicians, and everyday people in meaningful conversations around Climate Change. They have held events in 56 countries globally and mobilized nearly twenty-five thousand participants just in 2020 alone. Climate Interactive offers a simulation model to engage participants in exploring key technology and policy solutions for addressing global warming. The model is conducted as a simulated emergency climate summit organized by the United Nations that organizes global stakeholders to establish a concrete plan that limits warming according to the Paris Agreement goals. This model is a helpful format for large groups to explore climate change solutions and identify what it would take to address this matter. One of the issues discussed in these events was the decision made in September by The Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE) to allocate €181 million to finance innovative renewable projects in seven autonomous communities aimed at increasing the Spain’s renewable energy supply, and as support for a ‘just transition’ as part of a clean recovery from COVID-19.

Greenpeace, Ecologists in Action, and Oxfam International issued a lawsuit against Spain for not pursuing sufficiently its Climate Change plans. The lawsuit, filed at Spain’s Supreme Court in September 2020, seeks a judicial order demanding the government to increase its climate ambition in order to meet the terms of its international environmental commitments. The three groups claim that Spain is not accomplishing enough to meet its climate objectives and not respecting the Paris Agreement.

Activity Rating: ** Standing Still

For Spain to decarbonize its industrial sector, it is necessary that a larger number of national companies support the climate action activities to enable the implementation of a carbon-free economy and helping towards a better future for society. The existence of an ambitious Climate Change and Energy Transition law would support the consolidation of the decarbonization process significantly. However, the commitment not only of the government but also of the members of society to carry out the agreements established in the Paris agreement is notorious and well established.


Teresa Ribera Rodríguez

Minister of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO)

Contact Email:

This post was submitted by Spain Country Manager Wendy Paredes

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