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Spanish elections and sustainability: what does each party propose?

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Spain's general elections are just around the corner, and so is the high temperature record caused by climate change; what does each party propose to face the challenge of global warming?

On July 23, all Spaniards have an appointment at the polls to decide their next president. After four years of legislature and as a result of the regional and municipal elections, Pedro Sánchez decided to call the elections mid-summer at the risk of receiving thousands of criticisms.

During the weeks that have passed since the start of an electoral campaign and the start of the other, the four parties that have gained the most strength are the PSOE with Sánchez, SUMAR with Yolanda Díaz, PP with Alberto Núñez Feijóo and Vox with Santiago Abascal. However, the leading role has been taken by the different PP-Vox coalitions in various parts of Spain such as the Balearic Islands or Extremadura. If we talk about a PSOE-Sumar coalition, Pedro Sánchez has made it clear that if he wins the elections, he will work in coalition with Díaz's party.

Voting is more important now than ever, because the future of Spain's human rights and the future of our planet are at stake. In previous elections, climate change and sustainability have been in the background, but most political parties seem to have gotten their act together now that the Earth is close to exceeding - if it has not already done so - the temperature of 1.5 ° C that had been provided for in the Paris Agreement.

PSOE in search of the green transition

Regarding renewable energies, Pedro Sánchez's party proposes a law to identify, alongside autonomic communities and local entities, the most suitable areas to develop these energies while respecting the environment. Furthermore, he wants to impulse innovation in the energy sector through encouraging new technologies necessary for the decarbonization of energy, such as energy storage, renewable hydrogen and other renewable gases. With this, the executive ensures that more than 700,000 jobs associated with the green transition would be created.

Another of Sánchez's proposals includes the European electricity market, since he proposes to reform the electricity market within the European Union in order to be able to transfer the benefit of renewable energies to consumers. However, if we talk about nuclear power plants, PSOE proposes a plan called the General Radioactive Waste Plan which's aim is to integrate the needs for the management of radioactive waste and future needs in the orderly and progressive dismantling of nuclear power plants.

Over the years, various Spanish politicians have run campaigns to encourage recycling, but none have seemed to permeate society. What the socialists propose is to reinforce research for the development of new innovative key materials for reduction, reuse and recycling, as well as for the energy transition. He ensures promoting the circular economy in sectors such as chemicals, textiles or the recovery of electronic materials, in addition to culminating once and for all the development of the Law on Waste and Contaminated Soils, as well as a new waste and packaging regulation that allows achieve the objectives of reducing packaging for 2025 and 2023. To this, we must add the objective of resuming the Law against Food Waste.

With the general rise in prices, the executive's party wants to deploy the measures included in the Strategy against Energy Poverty, promoting social and participatory energy through energy communities and facilitating the development of self-consumption.

As far as climate change, the socialists propose to periodically review the climate commitments set out in the Climate Change and Energy Transition Law, in the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan. Create a new research and innovation program on climate change, drought and other extreme weather events and another research and innovation program on renewable energy.

In addition, with the aim of protecting the environment and biodiversity, they propose activating coastal protection plans against climate change in coordination with local communities with the support of scientific knowledge, protecting 30% of land spaces and the 30% of seafarers by the year 2030, strive to protect the biodiversity of the marine space, through the implementation of measures provided for in the Second cycle of Marine Strategies (2018-2024), and complete the implementation of the frameworks priority actions for Doñana, the Mar Menor, the recovery of the Albufera de Valencia and the Ebro Delta and to approve a new specific plan of priority actions for the Tablas de Daimiel.

SUMAR and their plan for the energy transition

Yolanda Díaz's party proposes a national energy transition plan to reduce CO₂ emissions, dependence on fossil fuels, democratize the energy production system and lower energy prices. Its goal is to rehabilitate 500,000 homes per year, addressing thermal insulation, replacing heating systems dependent on fossil fuels, as well as installing efficient heating, cooling, and hot water systems; the Solar Roof Law, which facilitates the development of photovoltaic energy on the roofs of buildings; reinforce investment in renewable energies for the period 2021-2023; the Public Transport Financing Law to advance sustainable mobility that reduces the use of private vehicles; and facilitate self-consumption.

On the other hand, SUMAR proposes to reduce the power of the electricity oligopoly, lowering the price of electricity and fighting against energy poverty, since it ensures that with the reform of the wholesale electricity market, the benefits fallen from heaven would end. In addition, it wants to reform the Law of the Electricity Sector to separate the activity of distribution of electrical energy from those of generation and commercialization, so that in future auctions that are carried out, a specific quota is reserved for renewable installations promoted by local entities for consumption. of proximity, creating a public energy company that includes the management of hydroelectric plants, owned by the State, and the reform of the electric and thermal social bonus.

As said during the election campaign, she wants to create a general tax on large polluting companies based on nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulfur (SOx) emissions, while maintaining extraordinary taxes on energy companies while approves the comprehensive reform of corporate tax. And speaking of taxes, she proposes a tax on luxury goods and services that generate a large volume of emissions and zero social performance; private planes, large yachts, luxury vehicles…

As far as sustainability, those of Sumar propose a tax on plastic to discourage the use of plastic containers throughout the value chain, at the same time that they want to modify the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, setting as an objective the reduction of emissions in 2030, 50% electrification of total energy demand, improved efficiency in the final use of energy, 90% renewable energy and zero net emissions in 2040.

Bearing in mind that electric cars are on the rise and are the most sustainable option for a private vehicle, Díaz wants to facilitate their access, simplifying purchase aid and introducing progressive rental criteria. In addition, with this, it seeks to stop new investments and subsidies to natural gas and other fossil fuels, as well as to recover public ownership of hydroelectric uses, betting on renewable hydrogen.

Goodbye to nuclear energy, and hello to emergency action to save and restore the Mar Menor. In addition to promoting and improving the law on waste and contaminated soil for a circular economy, SUMAR wants to develop a law against food waste and establish a national plan to improve poor air quality.

The PP's commitment to electrification and nuclear energy

Alberto Núñez Feijóo's party aims to extend the life of existing nuclear power plants, while promoting the electrification and decarbonization of the economy. In addition, they want to eliminate the existing exceptional intervention measures in the wholesale market in Spain.

On the other hand, the popular assures that promoting Biogas, Biomethane, eco fuels and biomass, for a more sustainable waste management, can help with your goal of promoting the production of green hydrogen.

Regarding the granting of permits and approval in the installation of renewable energies, Feijóo proposes unblocking the process with the help of a milestone rate that, with charge to the promoter of the project, finance the increase in the means necessary for the Administration to expedite the management of the files, avoiding bureaucratic collapse.

As far as agriculture is concerned, his proposal includesput a stop to the European agricultural pacts of the CAP and the European Green Pact, as well as the "From Farm to Fork" strategy, which proposes to halve the use of pesticides and fertilizers by 2050 and increase the amount of land dedicated to organic farming.

Another proposal that he raises is the reduction of the costs of energy, fuels and raw materials for producers in the primary sector, as well as promoting a National Sustainable Plan for Livestock, Agriculture and Forestry. The Galician assures that at all times he will support farmers, ranchers and the food industry in the commercialization in the emissions market, of the amounts absorbed or of the reduced emissions in their farms or facilities.

Speaking of agriculture, the popular ones claim to develop carbon agriculture with the help of carbon dioxide absorption projects and carbon footprint compensation mechanisms. Also undertakes to fight against food waste and involve administrations in donating food, and ensures that it will protect natural spaces and biodiversity, especially in aquatic ecosystems and wetlands such as the Mar Menor, Doñana or the Tablas de Daimiel.

VOX, nuclear energy and energy sovereignty

Santiago Abascal's party proposes a National Energy Sovereignty Plan so that Spain's energy resources are not wasted, but are used for power generation and dependence on foreign companies is reduced. In addition, with this plan, he wants to promote that all energy sources contribute to his plan in order to achieve the desired energy sovereignty and, in this way, stimulating the availability of an energy mix that includes photovoltaic, wind, hydraulic and nuclear energy would be feasible. to be able to use them in a proportionate way, thus guaranteeing energy sovereignty.

As far as nuclear energy is concerned, Abascal wants completely stop the sudden closure of industrial and power plants, since its objective is to implant small nuclear reactors (SMR) at the sites of closed nuclear power plants and the discharge nodes of thermal power plants that have been closed. In addition, it raises encourage investment and upgrade of the nuclear generation park, as well as promoting the extension of the useful life of existing nuclear power plants in Spain.

Speaking of climate change, you want suspend all weather regulations, since it ensures that it has been imposed byglobalist elites, and seriously affects the interest and prosperity of the Spaniards. With this, he proposes abandoning all agreements related to the fight against climate change, such as the Paris Agreement. This would mean theimmediate repeal of the climate change and energy transition law.

On the other hand, if we focus on the electricity market, those of Abascal propose the abolition of taxes on the electricity bill, depoliticizing the boards of directors of electric companies. It ensures full transparency on energy prices, and proposes the modification of the mechanism that sets the market price of electricity. They propose that there is no obligation of energy efficiency in privately owned buildings that are not fulfilled in the first place by all public real estate.

He also wants to require Brussels to review the legislation to ensure a real balance between the viability of the productive sectors and environmental and health guarantees.

Focusing on agriculture, the party ensures the protection of agricultural soil or that is of special interest to the primary sector to avoid speculation with him in the implementation of renewable energy infrastructures. It also wants to reinforce the reports of environmental impact and land use so that, after installing the renewable energy macro-projects, they can assess their impact on the natural heritage and their compatibility with human activities in the environment.

Finally, he proposes the repeal of the law for the recognition of legal personality of the Mar Menor and its basin, replacing it with a law dedicated to the protection of this and contemplates at the same time the integral management of the aquifer in collaboration with irrigators and users; and theparalysis of the reform of the Law of Coasts.

There is no doubt that the general elections in Spain are a great opportunity to advance in sustainability and fight against climate change. Each political party presents different proposals to face the challenge, with approaches that range from the promotion of renewable energies and the circular economy, to the promotion of nuclear energy and energy sovereignty. The election of the next president will define the policies that will mark the environmental course of Spain in the coming years. That's why now, more than ever, it is essential that citizens are aware of these proposals and elect their representatives based on their visions and actions regarding climate change.

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