Spain’s new government promises climate will be a priority

Combatting climate change and ensuring a fair energy transition will be top priorities for Spain’s next government under a coalition agreement reached yesterday by acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez and the secretary general of Unidas Podemos, Pablo Iglesias.

The new government could be in place by December, when Madrid is due to host the UN COP25 summit,  if a deal can be reached with pro-independence parties from Catalonia and the Basque Country.

Environmental issues featured strongly in the electoral programmes of both Sánchez’s centre-left socialist party (PSOE) and of the left-wing Unidas Podemos. Although the future coalition partners will not have a parliamentary majority they can expect sufficient support from minority parties to pass climate and energy legislation, long-delayed by Spain’s prolonged political paralysis, as soon as the new government is formed.

Podemos wants to set a target of 100% renewable energy by 2040, to end nuclear and coal generation by 2025, to raise taxes on the profits of industrial polluters, to insulate 500,000 homes and to achieve a 70% non-fossil fuel car fleet by 2030. The PSOE, whose climate and energy policy proposals are somewhat less ambitious, is however expected to retain control of the ecological transition and industry ministries in the coalition government.

Spain’s Ibex 35 blue-chip share index has dropped 2.7% since the announcement of the agreement to form a coalition government but shares in electricity generators have not suffered as much as banks and oil and construction companies.

“It’s too soon to evaluate the potential impact of what’s in election programmes but it’s clear that decarbonisation will be a priority and we ourselves are working to achieve the energy transition,” a spokeswoman for AELEC, which represents big generators, told ENDS.

“Europe has given the thumbs up to Spain’s draft climate and energy plan and we imagine that the new government will carry on in the same direction,” she added.

Seb Dance, MEP and S&D vice-chair of the European parliament’s environment committee welcomed the announcement. “Only progressive governments can overcome the conflict between economic growth and environmental protection,” he told ENDS. 

Follow-up: Agreement for the formation of new Spanish coalition government.

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