Expatica news

UN leader calls for climate action on visit to Spain

15 November 2007

MADRID – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked Spain to step up efforts to fight global warming as he visited Madrid Wednesday before attending the meeting of the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Valencia.

“[Spain] should show more active leadership and commitment,” Ban told Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero during an hour-long meeting in Congress, the Foreign Ministry said. Ban’s insistence that Spain is not doing enough to reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases came as an independent advisor to the government warned that Spain’s emissions have continued to rise this year.

“Emissions of greenhouse gases have certainly not diminished and by the end of the year are likely to be around one percent higher,” said José Santamarta of the Worldwatch Institute in Spain. “Spain will therefore have emitted 50 percent more greenhouse gases than it did in 1990, the benchmark year for the Kyoto Protocol.”

Under the international regime to fight climate change, Spain was permitted to raise emissions by 15 percent from 1990 levels by 2010 – a cap that will be impossible to meet. Instead, Santamarta’s preliminary estimates suggest that Spain has continued to pump more CO2 into the atmosphere, largely due to power firms burning more coal.

So far this year, coal use has increased five percent while energy production from comparatively cleaner natural gas and nuclear sources has fallen, largely because the cost of producing harmful emissions has decreased under Europe’s flawed emissions-trading scheme.

Anti-climate-change activists are therefore hoping that better emission-cutting plans will emerge from the Valencia IPCC meeting, where delegates from 130 nations were yesterday nearing agreement on a 25-page document laying out the basis of a new international strategy.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL. / A. EATWELL / R. MÉNDEZ 2007]

Subject: Spanish news