In its Consejo de Ministros cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Spain’s new coalition government agreed to issue a formal Declaration of Climate and Environmental Emergency, bringing it in line with 25 other countries and 1,250 local governments worldwide that have signed onto the global “climate emergency” movement and pledging as top priorities 30 separate lines of action aimed at redirecting Spanish society and the economy in the fight against climate change.
Speaking at a press conference following the weekly Consejo meeting, Teresa Ribera, 4th Vice-President and Minister for Environmental Transition & Demographic Challenges, told reporters that within its first 100 days in office the PSOE-Unidas Podemos coalition government led by President Pedro Sánchez will enact five of the pledged 30 specific lines of action.
The global movement urging governments worldwide to adopt climate emergency declarations began in 2016 and has grown rapidly in recent months with the emergence of international climate activisim of groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future, the latter founded by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
The climate emergency movement calls on governments first to declare their recognition that the world is in a climate emergency as a result of global warming and then to pledge specific actions to help mitigate climate change.
On Tuesday, Ribera said that Spain will propose a draft Law on Climate Change and Ecological Transition to Congress in the coming weeks that will commit Spain to long-term de-carbonization of the Spanish economy, setting 2050 as the target date for Spain’s becoming completely carbon neutral, that is, emitting zero carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
In addition, Ribera said the government intends to immediately move forward with the formation of a Citizens Assembly on Climate Change that will include all sectors of Spain’s population — especially Spanish youth — in the discussion over how to reverse global warming and combat climate change.
Other actions the government intends to take, Ribera said, include a total ban on new permits for fossil-fuel exploration and drilling, including fracking for natural gas in Spain, as well as an end to subsidies for fossil-fuel consumption.
The minister for Environmental transition also said the new Law on Climate Change will propose imposing restrictions on the circulation of vehicles in downtown areas of cities with populations of 50,000 or more, in order to encourage public transportation and cut back on carbon and particulate emissions generated by commuters and delivery vehicles in city centres throughout Spain.
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