7 Oct, 2022 @ 14:41
2 mins read

WINTER OF DISCONTENT: Carbon emissions in Spain rise despite climate pledges

Water Pollution With Plastic Bags In River
Water pollution with plastic bags in river illustration

When I say a ‘winter of discontent’, I’m not referring to a scene from Shakespeare’s Richard III, but to the here and now.

The stars are aligning to create the perfect storm –

· The consequences of the murdering psychopath Putin’s actions in Ukraine

· Food shortages

· Cost of living escalating prices

· Energy shortages

· Climate change inaction

Let me focus on the last two points.


Continuous lack of investment in renewable energy resources by Europe and the wider world have exposed us to the problems we now face.

Putin is using Russia’s plentiful stock of oil and gas as a weapon in his war against the west.

Europe is scrambling to find available supply elsewhere. This is easier said than done.

And we all know what happens when demand outstrips supply. Prices go up.

Europe is still dragging its heels rolling out additional renewable energy installations. Have you seen more solar farms or wind turbines being installed near you ?

I haven’t.

The European Commission’s vice-president, Frans Timmermans, summed it up perfectly last week….

“The era of cheap fossil fuels is over. The faster we move to cheap, clean and homegrown renewables, the sooner we will be immune to Russia’s blackmail.”


It’s a very simple formula – insufficient action = inadequate results.

Take Spain as an example.

Last year, Spain was Europe’s 4th biggest polluter. Carbon emissions increased by more than 3% last year, while other EU countries reduced them by 5%.

Looking back over a longer period, between 1990 – 2020, Spain reduced carbon emissions by 8%. In the UK emissions were reduced by 45% in the same period.

Germany managed to reduce by 42%.

Water Pollution With Plastic Bags In River
Pollution and the climate crisis go hand in hand. Picture:  freepik brgfz

The top 10 polluting companies in Spain are – Endesa, Iberdrola, Repsol, Cepsa, EDP, Arcelormittal, Naturgy, FCC, CEMEX and LafargeHolcim.

According to EU targets, Spain will have to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 if it is to be on track for carbon neutrality by 2050.

Fat chance of that given the lack of progress to date.

COP 27

Not long to go before the next United Nations next meeting in Egypt in November.

Once again we can look forward to ministers delivering promises on action they won’t deliver.

New UK Prime Minister Liz Truss promised during the leadership campaign to ‘double down’ on the UK’s commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In its latest report on net zero, UK government adviser the Climate Change Committee (CCC) , said that ‘tangible progress is lagging behind policy ambition’.

Expect to witness more of the same shallow rhetoric coming from Sharm El Sheik next month.

I’m still amazed that the UN selected a host country for this event with an appalling record on human rights.

Martin Tye is the owner of energy switch company Mariposa Energy. Contact him on +34 638145664 or email him at [email protected]

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