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Spain Unveils 'Groundbreaking' Plan to Slash Emissions and Transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

"It sets a long-term goal, provides incentives on scaling up zero emission technologies, and cares about a good transition for the workforce."

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez

The government of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez unveiled on Tuesday a "groundbreaking" proposed law to cut planet-warming emissions and transition to renewable energy. (Photo: Profimedia)

Spain's government on Tuesday unveiled "groundbreaking" plans to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, dramatically slash planet-warming emissions, and outlaw new fossil fuel exploration.

"By planning on going carbon neutral Spain shows that the battle against climate change is deadly serious, that they are ready to step up, and plan to reap the rewards of decarbonization."
—Laurence Tubiana, European Climate Foundation

Under the new draft law, Spain aims to draw at least 70 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030 and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels. By 2050, the nation would rely solely on sustainable sources and cut emissions by as much as 90 percent.

Over the next decade, the government would install at least 3,000MW of solar and wind power capacity annually. Most of the country's coal mines would be shut down with "just transition" contracts for workers featuring early retirement programs and training initiatives for clean energy jobs.

After 2040, the proposed legislation would end government subsidies and exploration permits for fossil fuels; outlaw fracking; and bar automakers from selling vehicles that run on gasoline or diesel.

European Climate Foundation CEO Laurence Tubiana, who called the measure "groundbreaking," said that "by planning on going carbon neutral Spain shows that the battle against climate change is deadly serious, that they are ready to step up, and plan to reap the rewards of decarbonization."

Spain's proposal is more ambitious than what's mandated by the European Union. As EURACTIV reports:

The draft law also reveals that Madrid is keen to go beyond the targets adopted under the E.U.'s clean energy package, a set of new and updated laws that will govern important aspects of energy and climate policy through the next decade.

Earlier this year, MEPs, national representatives, and Commission officials agreed that member states will have to contribute to an E.U.-wide target of 32 percent for renewable energy generation and 32.5 percent for energy efficiency uptake.

But in keeping with its refreshed progressive approach to ecological transition, the draft legislation wants to meet a 35 percent target for both renewables and energy efficiency.

Christiana Figueres, a former executive secretary of the U.N.'s framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), said, "The draft Spanish climate law is an excellent example of the implementation of the Paris agreement: it sets a long-term goal, provides incentives on scaling up zero emission technologies, and cares about a good transition for the workforce."

To move forward, though, the measure will need the support of Spanish lawmakers—and as Bloomberg noted, "With 84 Socialist deputies in Spain's 350-seat parliament, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez needs to build cross-party alliances to get major legislation passed."

With this draft legislation, Sánchez, who took office earlier this year, is trying to make good on his promise to step up Spain's transition to renewable energy to battle anthropogenic global warming.

The climate crisis is "the biggest challenge we face globally," Sánchez reportedly said Sunday, and the international community must "act with urgency and determination" to adequately address it.

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