- The “Discussions and Actions on Climate and Environment” project aims to raise awareness on the various legal solutions to the climate crisis at international, European and Spanish levels, emphasizing the need to increase our capacity to adapt to climate change.
- In the presentation of the DACE project, the results of a new public opinion study on the knowledge and perception of climate change in Spain were presented, which shows the concern of the citizens about this climate phenomenon, as well as the generalized lack of knowledge regarding the mitigation and adaptation measures being adopted in our country.
June 28th – The International Institute for Law and the Environment (IIDMA) has presented today, Wednesday 28th, at the Representation of the European Commission in Spain (Madrid), the European project “Discussions and Actions on Climate and Environment” (DACE). This project, funded by the European Union (EU) and coordinated by the Justice & Environment association, aims to raise public awareness of policies and legislation on adaptation to climate change. Over a two-year period, it will be implemented in six member states: Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Slovenia and Spain, with IIDMA being responsible for its development in our country.
“This project is of great relevance in this year that the COP 28 will close the work program on the global adaptation target set out in the Paris Agreement”, indicates Ana Barreira, Founding Director of IIDMA.
Society is becoming increasingly concerned about the climate emergency and the environmental degradation we are facing. The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events are increasing and, as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned, even the most stringent mitigation efforts will not be able to curb the severe impacts of climate change. It is therefore crucial to put ambitious actions in place to increase our resilience and adaptive capacity.
The DACE project seeks to address this challenge by promoting greater awareness and knowledge about climate change adaptation and the existing international, European and Spanish legal-institutional framework in this field. In addition, the project aims to inform citizens about their “climate rights”. This is particularly relevant given that the negative impacts of climate change affect fundamental rights, which is why the number of climate litigation cases is on the rise.
“It is necessary to build decarbonized societies, adapted and resilient to climate change, and today’s event shows that there is already an extensive legal-institutional framework to make this possible. Although Spanish citizens are increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change, they still have limited knowledge about what the law requires and what is being done in practice to achieve solutions and adapt the territory of the EU and Spain to this phenomenon,” explains Alba Iranzo, senior environmental lawyer at IIDMA and Spanish coordinator of the DACE Project.
“The need to adapt to climate change was already recognized in the very objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in addition to requiring the adoption of adaptation plans and measures. The Paris Agreement reinforced the need to adapt to climate change by including the global objective of adaptation,” explains Ana Barreira.
At the European Union level, in application of the international regime to fight against climate change, strategies and regulations on adaptation to climate change have been approved. The representative of the European Commission at the presentation, Anna Dimitrijevics, Deputy Director of the Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Unit of the Directorate General for Climate Action, pointed out the European Climate Law and the EU Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
In the case of Spain, the Law on Climate Change and Ecological Transition includes different obligations to adapt our territory to climate change, which have been reflected in the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (2021-2030).
At the regional and local level, various adaptation measures are also being implemented. In this regard, representatives of the autonomous communities of Andalusia, the Balearic Islands and Galicia, as well as the Valencia City Council, highlighted the main advances to adapt their respective territories to the impacts of climate change. They also explained how they are working to ensure that these actions contribute to achieving the climate objectives set by Spain and the EU for the 2030 and 2050 horizons.
The event was also attended by leading specialists in the field such as María Salazar Guerra, Head of the Technical Service of the General Sub-Directorate for Coordination of the Spanish Office for Climate Change (OECC), Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITERD); María López Sanchís, General Director of Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change of the Government of the Junta de Andalucía; María Sagrario Pérez, General Director of Environmental Quality, Sustainability and Climate Change of the Government of the Xunta de Galicia, among others.
Knowledge of climate change in Spain
Within the framework of the project, the opinion study “Knowledge and Perception of Climate Change in Spain”, commissioned by IIDMA to the consulting firm Take a Tip, was presented. This study gathers the opinion of 750 people, representative of the Spanish population, using as a reference the latest data published by the National Institute of Statistics.
According to the results of the study, climate change is a problem that worries the Spanish population, especially in the rural sector, where more than 50% of those surveyed are very concerned. The effects of extreme temperatures, the increase of extreme weather events, the decrease in water resources and drought are identified as the main impacts in our country
The study also reveals that only 22% of the consulted population has a good knowledge of what “adaptation to climate change” means. In addition, the study shows a high lack of knowledge of the main regulatory instruments and climate change policies in our country. Despite this lack of knowledge, almost 62% of citizens consider it very necessary and are interested in receiving training on the subject.
In addition, almost 30% of those surveyed consider that their rights are affected by the impacts of climate change, and 46% would be willing to go to court to seek redress, with appropriate legal assistance.
Access the opinion survey “Knowledge and Perception of Climate Change in Spain” here.