The IIDMA closes in Sevilla the cycle of conferences on climate action that, throughout 2022, has brought together environmental specialists from all over Spain

  • The focus of this third and final session was on the autonomous communities of Andalucía, Madrid, Extremadura and the Region of Murcia.
  • Scientific, political and environmental law authorities debated on how to achieve climate neutrality and the reconciliation between renewables, biodiversity and territory.
  • You can watch the full video here

The Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation was the venue for the closing of the cycle of conferences on climate and energy action at a regional level that the IIDMA (International Institute for Law and the Environment) has held in different autonomous communities throughout 2022. The event, organised in Sevilla with the collaboration of the Andalusian Ministry of Sustainability, was attended by 14 speakers from the fields of politics, academia and environmental and energy law.

This third session focused on the regions of Andalucía, Madrid, Extremadura and Murcia. The progress made by Andalucía and Extremadura in their targets for the implementation of renewables by 2030, and the creation in Madrid and Murcia of consultative bodies on climate change, stand out. Furthermore, Andalucía is the only one of these four regions to have adopted a regional Climate Change Law. Despite these improvements, and those of the other regions analysed, the IIDMA maintains that Spain continues to be deficient with regards to its  long-term plans, inter-administrative coordination and transparency.

“The distribution of powers provided for in our Constitution in climate and energy matters gives the autonomous communities an essential role in the fulfilment of international commitments in the fight against climate change,” said Ana Barreira, director and lawyer at the IIDMA, referring to the conclusions of the report The role of the autonomous communities in the fight against climate change, recently published by the Institute.

In line with this role, and following the experience of other neighbouring countries, several autonomous communities in Spain have already created expert committees on climate change. However, of the regions present today, only the Community of Madrid has strengthened its climate governance framework with the formation of a scientific-technical committee on sustainability and climate change. According to Alba Iranzo, a lawyer at the IIDMA and co-author of the report on this issue, “although the creation of these bodies is necessary to influence climate and energy action, their implementation at the regional level is failing due to a lack of the necessary mechanisms and resources”.

This presentation was followed by a round table discussion in which regional representatives from Andalucía, the Community of Madrid and the Region of Murcia shared the progress and perspectives on climate and energy action in their respective territories. The participants were María López, Director General of Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change of Andalucía; Mariano Oliveros, Deputy Director General of Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Community of Madrid; and Francisco Marín, Director General of the Environment of the Region of Murcia.

Renewables, biodiversity and territory

The second part of the session focused on how to reconcile the deployment of renewables with biodiversity and the territory, beginning with the presentation of the IIDMA reports on this issue (at state and regional levels). As indicated, in a scenario such as the current one, where the commitment against climate change is added to an energy crisis derived from the war in Ukraine, the push for renewables is a challenge that cannot be postponed.

In its analysis, the IIDMA sets forth that such a reconciliation is possible provided that there is adequate planning and an appropriate legal-institutional framework is in place. Specifically, the Institute suggests the use of environmentally degraded or disused sites for the location of renewable energy facilities. “It is important to encourage programmes that facilitate the location of these projects on degraded land that is difficult to reclaim, closed landfills, former mines or industrial areas,” said Massimiliano Patierno, an environmental engineer at the Institute.

On the other hand, the rapid identification of risks is essential to avoid significant impacts on biodiversity. According to Ángel Roldán, environmental lawyer at the IIDMA, “the most appropriate instrument to achieve this objective is the Strategic Environmental Assessment, because it allows the effects of plans, programmes and policies to be studied”.

All of this was discussed by the regional representatives and specialists who formed the second round table. Specifically, Manuel Larrasa, Secretary General for Energy of Andalucía; Giuseppe Carlo Aloisio, Director General of Forestry Policy and Biodiversity of Andalucía; David Serrano, PhD in Biology and professor at the Doñana Biological Station; and Ana Isabel Ruiz, Vice-President of the Energy Cluster of Extremadura, contributed their views.

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