Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

XR Madrid

Activists with Extinction Rebellion urge governments across the globle to declare a climate emergency and act on with input from citizens. (Photo: XR Madrid/Twitter)

After Spain Declares Climate Emergency, Activists Demand 'Concrete and Immediate' Action

"Now it's time to see... if there will really be major changes that take us away from the catastrophic path we find ourselves on."

Jessica Corbett

Spain's new left-wing coalition government on Tuesday declared a climate emergency and promised to send ambitious legislation to the country's parliament within the next 100 days—moves that were welcomed by campaigners who responded with calls for "concrete and immediate" action plans.

Tuesday's declaration came just two weeks after the Spanish parliament voted to approve a coalition government formed by Unidas Podemos and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, following months of failed negotiations between the two parties.

The declaration also came less than a week after Barcelona declared a climate emergency and unveiled 103 measures that are collectively crafted to help Spain's second-largest city halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau put it, "This is not a drill, the house is on fire."

Colau's comment echoed those of activists worldwide pressuring all levels of government to pursue bold policies that cut emissions and combat the climate crisis. While campaigners across Spain celebrated their government's declaration, they also vowed to keep fighting for action on par with what scientists say is necessary in a rapidly warming world.

In the Spanish city Huesca, a branch of the global youth climate strike movement Fridays for Future—founded by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg—was among the groups demanding that the nation's government follow the declaration with urgent action.

"Now it's time to see... if there will really be major changes that take us away from the catastrophic path we find ourselves on," declared Extinction Rebellion (XR) Spain.

The global XR account responded to the declaration by tweeting that "we want governments to act together and start solving this #PlanetaryEmergency NOW. #DeedsNotWords #BeyondPolitics."

The XR movement has three key demands of governments: declare a climate and ecological emergency; act to halt biodiveristy loss and cut planet-heating emissions; and create and accept guidance from citizens assemblies on climate and ecological justice.

The Madrid-based Spanish-language newspaper El País reported Tuesday that Teresa Ribera, vice president for the ecological transition, announced that the government will establish a citizens assembly, following in the footsteps of France.

Ribera tweeted in Spanish Tuesday that the government approved the emergency declaration "for justice (between territories, between generations and between people of the same generation), for our future, for responsibility (economic, social, environmental and institutional)."

The government's climate legislation will "include mandatory low-emission zones in big cities" like those that "are already in effect in Barcelona and Madrid, as well as dozens of cities around the globe," Reuters reported Tuesday.

According to Reuters:

Speaking after a cabinet meeting of the new government, environmental minister Teresa Ribera said a bill will oblige all urban areas with a population of more than 50,000 to create low-emission zones.

[...]

The left-wing coalition also said it would introduce legislation to bring down emissions and achieve "climate neutrality" by 2050.

Although "the ambitious target is likely to put the coalition government on a collision course with the far-right Vox party," Reuters noted, it aligns with efforts pursued by other governments and the European Parliament, which declared a climate emergency in November 2019.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Do Better,' Say Advocates as Biden Seeks to Double Refugee Admissions

"When thousands of Afghans have been forced to flee their home to find safety, and Haitians are seeking safety on the southern border, the very least the United States can do is set a resettlement goal that meets the moment."

Brett Wilkins ·


Border Patrol Accused of 'Unfathomable Cruelty' for Cracking Whips on Haitians

"It doesn't matter if a Democrat or Republican is president, our immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Brett Wilkins ·


As Gov. Tim Walz Proclaims 'Minnesota Climate Week,' Ilhan Omar Says 'Stop Line 3'

"The state of Minnesota simply cannot meet our carbon reduction targets if this pipeline goes through," said the Democratic congresswoman. "Our future is on the line."

Kenny Stancil ·


Supreme Court Announces Date for Case Directly Challenging Roe v. Wade

"The fate of Roe v. Wade and legal abortion is on the line."

Julia Conley ·


Avi Lewis Hoping Canadians' Climate Concerns Deliver Electoral 'Upset of Epic Proportions'

"We need to send Avi to Ottawa to shake up the entire political establishment, including his own party, and tip the scales in favor of people and the planet," said environmentalist David Suzuki.

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo