As Part of the EU, Spain Has Climate Target Plan by 2030

As Part of the EU, Spain Has Climate Target Plan by 2030

This post was submitted by Spain Country Manager Wendy Paredes

According to the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, due in March 2021, the total Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions in Spain estimated for 2019 were 314,528.5 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2-eq). This constitutes an increase of 8.5% with respect to the base year 1990 and a decrease of 28.9% with respect to the year 2005.

This National Inventory Report updates the emissions quantity by sources of seven groups of direct GHG: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). Likewise, the emissions of the following indirect greenhouse gases are included: carbon monoxide (CO), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and sulfur oxides (SOX).

Additionally, this data has been prepared considering the current reporting guidelines, by which the emission estimates are grouped into five major Intergovernmental Panels on Climate Change (IPPC) sectors: energy, industrial processes and use of other products, agriculture, land use, land use change and forestry and waste.

Spain is part of the European Union (EU), which has the Climate Target Plan by the year 2030. In this plan, the EU Commission proposes to raise its ambition on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030. To address this commitment, Spain presented the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plans (PNIEC) 2021-2030, which determine the framework of action in the fight against climate change and is a major climate and energy governance tool.

The PNIEC identifies the challenges and opportunities along the five dimensions of the Energy Union: decarbonization, including renewable energy; energy efficiency; energy security; the internal energy market and research, innovation, and competitiveness. In addition, the PNIEC sends the necessary signals to provide certainty and a sense of direction to all stakeholders, also providing flexibility and manageability to the energy transition and the decarbonization of the economy.

According to the study carried out, the measures contemplated in the PNIEC will allow the following results to be achieved in 2030:

  • 23% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to 1990
  • 42% of renewables on the final use of energy
  • 39.5% improvement in energy efficiency
  • 74% renewable energy in electricity generation
  • 100% renewable electricity system by that date

These results will allow progress towards the fulfillment of the longer-term objective that has guided the elaboration of this plan, which is to achieve the neutrality of GHG emissions from Spain in 2050 in coherence with the positions adopted by the European Commission and most of the Member States.

Additionally, Spain has the Long-Term Decarbonization Strategy for the year 2050, which is a coherent and integrated response to the climate crisis and that takes advantage of the opportunities for the modernization and competitiveness of the economy. It is a roadmap to move towards climate neutrality by the 2050 horizon.

This strategy provides medium and long-term signals to investors, economic, social and environmental agents, and to the whole Spanish society, for the period 2021-2050.

In that sense, it has a triple objective:

  1. Fulfill the commitments of the Paris Agreement
  2. Anticipate and plan the transition to a climate neutral economy, accounting for the challenges and the social, business, and political debate about its implications and needs
  3. Offer a clear long-term objective, which will help to anticipate the necessary lines of action and, therefore, to maximize and take advantage of the opportunities derived from the energy transition, reducing risks

Regarding to the Spain commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050, the list of measures shown below establish which policies and measures are being adopted to build a cost-efficient path, and compatible with its medium and long-term objectives.

Residential, commercial, and institutional sector

  • Biomass in heating
  • Geothermal in air conditioning in new buildings
  • Thermal solar panels for ACS
  • Behavior changes at home and change windows
  • Distribution of heating costs with thermostatic valves
  • Change individual boilers to condensing

Transport sector

  • Modal transfer from private vehicle to bicycle in the passenger transport and cooperative mobility
  • Modal transfer in the transport of passengers from private vehicle to collective public transport modes
  • Modal transfer in the transport of goods from road to rail
  • Natural renewal of the light vehicle fleet in accordance with the CO2 reduction targets for 2020
  • Introduction of very low emission vehicles and 2G biofuel in transportation
  • Teleworking and other measures to reduce travel in passenger transport
  • Efficient vehicle driving and management of vehicle fleets
  • Advance the natural renewal life of the fleet of light vehicles to the optimum
  • Use of biogas in transport

Agricultural and livestock sector

  • Anaerobic digestion of slurry with denitrification nitrification treatment and livestock manure and other substrates
  • Introduction of legumes in managed grasslands that will use synthetic fertilization
  • Direct sowing
  • Training to improve fertilization efficiency
  • Efficient driving of tractors
  • Use of pruning residues from woody crops avoiding their burning
  • Incorporation of woody crop pruning residues into the soil
  • Introduction of legume covers sown in irrigated woody crops


Waste sector

  • Home or community composting
  • Separate collection of bio-waste destined for composting and biomethanization
  • Food waste reduction
  • Increase in separate collection of paper in the municipal channel


Fluorinated gases sector

  • Substitution of HFCs by equipment with low global warming potential in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment
  • Elimination of HFC-23 generated as a by-product
  • Correct maintenance of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment with HFCs


Industry sector not subject to emissions trading (SET)

Efficiency improvement and change of fuels in Non-SET Industry


Valvanera María Ulargui Aparicio

General Director of the Spanish Office for Climate Change


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