Canary Islands approves decarbonizing the islands in 2040, 10 years ahead of the rest of Spain and Europe |  Climate and Environment

Canary Islands approves decarbonizing the islands in 2040, 10 years ahead of the rest of Spain and Europe | Climate and Environment

The Parliament of the Canary Islands has approved this Tuesday the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition of the archipelago after a long and harsh procedure in which the opposition has presented numerous amendments. This document, approved with the votes in favor of the call flower pact (PSOE, Podemos, Nueva Canarias and Agrupación Socialista Gomera) and the Canary Islands Coalition, pursues the decarbonisation of the islands’ economy in the year 2040, 10 years before the horizons set by Europe and Spain in this matter, according to sources from the Autonomous government. “This is the most consensual law in the history of the Canary Islands, with more than 384 citizen contributions in the two periods of public exposure,” explained the Executive in a note sent to the media. The final text will be published in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands in the coming days.

The document calls for regional budgets to incorporate a “climate perspective” and for 2% of the Islands’ GDP to be allocated to action measures in this regard. In this way, the objective of the regional Executive is that emissions on the deadline date are reduced by 90% compared to those of 1990 and that at least 10% of the remaining emissions are absorbed by sinks. If fulfilled, it would mean that the archipelago would go from emitting 13.3 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (a measure that includes all greenhouse gases) to 7.4 million in 2030 and, finally, to 862,000 tons in 2040. Regarding the implementation of renewable energies, the horizon set by the Law and the Canary Islands Energy Transition Plan for 2030 is to reach 37% of final energy consumption through green technologies and 92% in 2040. It also creates the Canarian Agency for Climate Action, Energy and Water. Currently, the penetration of renewables for electricity generation barely amounts to 19.9%, compared to 47.7% in the national electricity system in 2021, according to data from the Sustainable Energy Strategy in the Canary Islands, prepared by the governments of Spain and the Canary Islands.

The text approved this Tuesday establishes that in 2030 all public institutions on the islands will have to be supplied 100% from renewable sources and will have to completely replace the equipment that is powered by fossil fuels. The Administration must also replace internal combustion vehicles with others with zero polluting emissions within a maximum period of 10 years from the entry into force. Local corporations will have to adopt criteria of energy efficiency and neutralization of light pollution when they renew the lighting, so that in 2040, the entire network meets this purpose 100%. The law will oblige administrations to include in the tender specifications requirements taken into account for climate action, such as energy self-sufficiency or optimal waste management.

The legal text contemplates the creation of the so-called Carbon Footprint Registry, which, according to what the Minister of Ecological Transition, Fight against Climate Change and Territorial Planning of the regional government, José Antonio Valbuena, has assured, will make it possible to quantify greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse. Registration in this registry will be mandatory for accommodation, non-accommodation and complementary tourist operations; fishing and aquaculture activities; industrial and commercial activities, among others.

For sustainable mobility, the emission reduction objective is 84.2% by 2040, not exceeding 480,000 tons of CO₂ equivalent per year. The large centers that generate public and private mobility must introduce sustainable mobility plans for their users within a maximum period of five years from the approval of the Canary Islands Climate Action Strategy. Among other sectors, vehicle rental companies must exclusively have fleets with zero direct emissions within a maximum period of 15 years from the entry into force of this Law.

tourist land

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On the other hand, at the same time that it approved how to lower emissions, the Canarian Parliament also analyzed how to increase tourists. The counselor José Antonio Valbuena has assured this Tuesday that if all the planned tourist land is developed, the archipelago would go from 480,000 places to some 700,000, with a capacity to accommodate up to 22.3 million tourists, which would raise the fixed population to 2, 8 million people. Valbuena has exposed before the Chamber the preliminary details of a study prepared by his department that analyzes hotel and non-hotel places, without taking into account vacation rentals, rural hotels, golf accommodations or emblematic hotels. Thus, 843 geographical enclosures have been detected and that the accommodation capacity has dropped by 10% in the last 10 years —there are 480,000 beds, of which 350,000 are in use—, with a 49% collapse of the apartment floor and a 10% increase in the hotel.

According to the counselor’s data, Lanzarote has 78,000 vacancies and a potential growth of another 55,000 (+70%); Fuerteventura can grow by up to 87%; Gran Canaria has 160,000 beds and a potential growth of 36%; Tenerife, 170,000 and 27% more potential; La Gomera, 3,200 beds and a possible growth of 157%; La Palma, 5,000 —places have been lost due to the volcano— and a potential of 45% more and El Hierro, which aspires to grow 118% more.

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