Spain creates new climate policy committee

National Climate Council to have more influence than predecessor, says environment ministry

The Spanish government is to create a new senior forum for climate policy making, the environment ministry announced on Friday. To be chaired by environment minister Isabel Tocino, the National Climate Council will bring together junior ministers from a number of government departments, including economy, transport, education, trade, industry, agriculture and health.

With a more senior ministerial membership than the previous National Committee on Climate, the council intended achieve "consensus" and an "integrated approach," to climate policy making, according to the government.

A spokesperson for the environment ministry told ENDS Daily that the council will fulfil "a need for the different political sectors to unite on environmental issues". She said that the high political status of the council's members would make it more able to "put pressure" on individual ministries than its predecessor, and hoped that the new council would be "more effective than the last" one in influencing policy.

Like other EU countries, Spain is awaiting the outcome of the next stage of EU negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions reductions after the Kyoto summit. Before the summit, Spain agreed in principle to limit emissions to an 18% increase from 1990 to 2010. It remains to be seen what it will agree to post-Kyoto, which cut the EU's overall emissions reductions responsibility from 15% to 8% but doubled the number of gases to be included in the reductions package.

Spain's new council will provide scientific and technical backup for Spanish delegations at international climate meetings and coordinate national reporting on climatic change. Top-level civil service experts from specialist agencies will be present as non-voting members, who will participate in working groups on specific tasks. Areas of activity look to include energy conservation in industry and agriculture, renewable and solar energy, building insulation, and raising the efficiency of vehicles and the transport sector. The technical infrastructure of the new council will be delegated to the Spanish Meteorological Institute, whose director will act as secretary to the council.

Follow Up:
Spanish environment ministry,, tel: +34 1 597 6030.

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