Spotlight Report: BC3, The Climate Change Mitigation Research Organization in Spain

Spotlight Report: BC3, The Climate Change Mitigation Research Organization in Spain

In Spain, over 90% of Spaniards are aware that climate change is happening. Whether it’s a rural farmer’s agricultural business struggles, a coastal resident’s hurricane scare, or a city dweller’s new requirements to buy a car with a cleaner engine, climate change affects most, if not all, Spaniards today. Naturally, the academic field concerning climate change makes up a much smaller percentage of the population; nonetheless, there are many climate advocacy and research groups in the country. As of 2020, climate change-related activities, including research, are active and well-funded. As many prior posts have mentioned, Spain was the physical host country of the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or the COP25. The event spurred much national interest in climate change, and the awareness of the issue has also helped fund further climate change projects across the country.

One of these organizations is the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3). Based out of the Leioa municipality of the Basque Country, a region known for its desire for autonomy from Spain, the organization includes all of Spain, in addition to many other parts of the world, in its research. Even though the organization is funded by the Basque government and politics play a role in borders, climate change does not see borders. Therefore, the greater BC3 mission is “to strategically foster co-production of knowledge relevant to decision making by integrating environmental, socioeconomic, and ethical dimensions of climate change.” Recent publications by their team of 60+ researchers include topics on sustainable land management and adaptation plans for climate change, both of which emphasize the need for more (and hopefully proactive) government policy towards climate change. As policymaking is a very slow process, it is still unknown if the studies will have impacted the government’s decisions about their respective topics.

While BC3 and many other organizations do a great job with their work, much remains to be done. Regions and cities should continue working together within Spain, and Spain should also forge deeper connections with academic institutions across the EU and around the world.

Activity Rating: *** Moving Forward

Spain, as an OECD country, has strong scientific research institutions. Climate change is no longer a miscellaneous topic but is (and has been for some time) a topic at the forefront of academic research and government policy. The problem, though, is that much of the research is disconnected from policy, and vice versa. Policymakers should work together with researchers (and higher government entities should make these connections) to achieve the best results possible.

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Dear Ms. Sanz,

We write to you from Climate Scorecard with great admiration for your organization and its work. We are very interested in your recent research, especially the publications concerning sustainable land management and adaptation plans for climate change. These publications are extremely pertinent to today’s fight against the climate and dive into the topics appropriately. While we did very much enjoy these, dated 2019 and 2018, we were wondering if 2020 has brought forth any new research topics or publications that have not yet been published to your website. Since climate change is such an important topic, we believe more money and research should be dedicated to the cause. If there is a problem in receiving government funding for the research, we would be curious to know this as well. We wish you the best in 2020 and beyond,

(Your name here)


María José Sanz Sánchez

Scientific Director, BC3

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Spain Country Manager Samantha Pettigrew

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BC3, la organización de investigación sobre mitigación del cambio climático en España

En España, más del 90 % de los españoles son conscientes de que se está produciendo el cambio climático. Se trata de las luchas comerciales de un agricultor rural, el miedo a los huracanes de un residente de la costa, o los nuevos requisitos de un residente de Madrid para comprar un automóvil con un motor más limpio, el cambio climático afecta a casi todos los españoles hoy en día. Naturalmente, el sector académico relacionado con el cambio climático constituye un porcentaje mucho menor de la población. No obstante, existen muchos grupos de investigación del clima en el país. A partir de 2020, las actividades relacionadas con el cambio climático, incluida la investigación, son activas y están bien financiadas. Como han mencionado muchas publicaciones anteriores, España fue el país anfitrión de la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático, o la COP25. El evento fomentó mucho interés nacional en el cambio climático, y la conciencia sobre el tema también ha ayudado a financiar más proyectos de cambio climático en todo el país.

Una de estas organizaciones es el Centro Vasco de Cambio Climático (BC3). Con sede en el municipio de Leioa del País Vasco, una región conocida por su lucha hacía la autonomía de España, la organización incluye a toda España y muchas otras partes del mundo en su investigación. Aunque la organización está financiada por el gobierno vasco y la política influye como se construyen las fronteras, no existen fronteras para los impactos del cambio climático. Por lo tanto, la misión principal de BC3 es “fomentar estratégicamente la coproducción de conocimiento relevante para la toma de decisiones mediante la integración de las dimensiones ambientales, socioeconómicas y éticas del cambio climático”. Las publicaciones recientes de su equipo de más de 60 investigadores incluyen temas sobre la gestión sostenible de la tierra y planes de adaptación al cambio climático, los cuales enfatizan la necesidad de una política gubernamental más (y ojalá que sea proactiva) hacia el cambio climático. Dado que la creación e implementación de políticas públicas es un proceso muy lento, aún se desconoce si los estudios habrán afectado las decisiones del gobierno sobre sus respectivos temas.

Si bien BC3 y muchas otras organizaciones hacen un gran trabajo con su investigación, queda mucho por hacer. Las regiones y ciudades deben seguir trabajando juntas dentro de España, y España también debe forjar conexiones más profundas con instituciones académicas de la UE y con todo el mundo.

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