New report on climate change in Catalonia lays the foundations for bold new policies

Author:
Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 3 minutes
8 February 2017

LONDON: Catalonia could face catastrophic effects of climate change in the next few years, but it is ready to strengthen its strategic policies to mitigate such consequences, a new report states.

“Catalonia is proudly the European co-chair of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance,” underlines Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group, “and is also a founding signatory of the Under2 Coalition, committed to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.

“Through its bold policies, the Catalan government is showing how the challenge of climate change can be transformed into an opportunity of a healthier, more sustainable society and a prosperous economy.

“This report represents an important example of how state and regional governments are taking leading action on climate change and developing consistent long-term frameworks for decision making based on solid scientific evidence.”

THE VALUE OF COLLABORATION

The Third Report on Climate Change in Catalonia, the result of the participation of 140 authors and 40 reviewers from the region’s leading universities and research centres, highlights how temperatures in the Spain’s autonomous community are expected to rise by 0.8 degrees Celsius (°C) this decade, with an increase of 1.4°C by 2050 compared to the average for the 1971-2000 period.

The new report forecasts more extreme temperature conditions, frequent heatwaves and tropical nights, an increase in the number of hot days and nights and longer periods of dry weather.

It also warns that the expected number of heat-related deaths in the region may grow eightfold by 2050, resulting in over 2,500 deaths per year during the summer months, whilst also enhancing the prevalence of diseases such as dengue, malaria or chikungunya.

“The report provides an exhaustive compilation of scientific research on the progression and impacts of climate change in Catalonia,” underlines Carles Puigdemont, President of Catalonia, “aiming at facilitating rigorous knowledge for responsible decision making.

“The document is a comprehensive contribution on the regionalization of the analysis and projections on worldwide global warming which are key for joint collaboration and policy-sharing among States and Regions, and in particular, Under2 Coalition members.”

POSITIVE SIGNS

In Europe, total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions dropped by almost a quarter between 1990 and 2014, with policy makers aiming to reduce them by at least by 40% (from 1990 levels) by 2030. Catalonia is in line with this ambitious European goal, aiming for a reduction of 25% (in comparison to 2005) by 2020, and 40% by 2030.

The report notes a series of positive signs on the global fight against climate change: the slowdown in the annual rise in emissions from fossil fuels in recent years, the huge acceleration in introducing renewable energies and, above all, the creation of a much better political framework through the Paris Agreement, with the final goal of achieving  net zero emissions during the second half of this century.

However, even if the climate action from many sub-national governments is clear, more needs to be done on a global scale to mitigate the worst effects of climate change and support these forward-thinking climate policies.

Sub-national governments are the ones who are grasping such opportunity – but they need more tools to respond more efficiently to the challenge posed by climate change, the authors conclude.

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