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Spanish growth causes environmental damage

Published on 22/06/2005

22 June 2005

MADRID — Spain’s extraordinary economic growth has been matched by damage to the environment and society as a whole, a report said.

The new Observatory on Sustainability said the country’s strong GDP growth rates were based on extensive environmental degradation and rising social inequalities, the Spanish daily El Pais reported.

The report analysed the effect growth has had on key social, environmental and economic factors.

Greenhouse gas omissions, water and energy consumption as well as coastal urbanization have reached “critical levels” in recent years, it warned.

From 1990 to 2004, Spain’s greenhouse emissions have grown 45 percent, three times the figure agreed by Madrid in the Kyoto Treaty on global warming.

Spain is the country which is farthest from completing its obligations under the treaty.

In social terms, growth has harmed productivity, labour stability and spending on education.

Spain is wealthier but this wealth results from external factors “that will barely be sustained in the future”, the report says.

These factors include European Union aid and the influx of immigrants who are boosting the economy.

But progress has not been entirely negative.

Growth has brought the expansion of ecological agriculture, up to 725,000 hectares in 2003 from 4,000 12 years earlier.

There is greater use of renewable energies, like wind power, and sexual equality has improved.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news