The keys to the future Spanish law of Climate Change and Energy Transition
25 May 2017 | Adaptation
On May 25th and 26th of 2017, the event entitled "Spain, together for the Climate" will be held in Madrid. We interviewed Kepa Solaun (Partner and General Director of Factor,) who will participate in these assemblies as an expert on adaptation to climate change, to know the keys to this future Spanish regulation.
Over the next few months Spain will define the future Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, how do you value this fact?
The initiative is certainly positive. The fact that climate change becomes an integral part of a law and that a political debate like this is opened is clearly positive. It is important to contribute to their visibility and that the key players value the importance they may have. Logically, we will have to wait to see the results in order to judge the initiative as a whole, but the objective is certainly positive.
In this sense, the key will be to take bold decisions and to move towards a low carbon economy. Many normative projects that we have seen in this field are rather strategic plans passed by an articulated text. A law is a law, and it must provide us with tools to transform reality in this field of climate change and energy transition, which are going to be two extraordinarily important elements that can profoundly change many aspects of our economy.
Do you consider it possible that this Law, as it says, allows Spain to "transform the reality"? What circumstances can influence this transformation?
The truth is that things are moving very fast. For example, if we look at the evolution of renewable energy, we will see that it is spectacular. We have been installing more renewable megawatts of electricity for three years now than conventional ones and this rhythm does not seem to stop. That is, the changes are coming already. On the other hand, the urgency of the challenge does not leave us time to take things with too much parsimony. If we want to avoid that the increase of the world temperature exceeds the two degrees Celsius we must begin to act immediately.
The urgency seems obvious, what circumstances can make such a law successful?
First, we must bear in mind that Spain is not an island. Addressing climate change is a clear example of the so-called "Tragedy of the Commons". All countries need to get down to reducing emissions. It is not enough for developed countries alone, since developing countries already account for 60% of emissions. Therefore, the first circumstance that must be fulfilled is political and goes through a commitment of the great countries to change the evolution of the emissions at world-wide level.
Other key elements, already thinking in Spain, are financing and mainstreaming. Without enough resources and without all the administrations, regardless of their area of work, get on this boat, it is impossible to achieve the objective.
You are invited to participate in the assemblies of the future Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, as an expert on adaptation to Climate Change. In this sense, we are seeing how adaptation is becoming increasingly important in the agenda of governments and companies. What factors do you consider to explain this fact?
Different elements have come together. In the first place, a greater awareness on the part of the public administrations and the companies, that begin to incorporate the adaptation to the climatic change in its strategic processes and in the decision making. This influences that we are getting more and more information and that we are better able to interpret what is happening in terms of climate change.
It is also important to mention that there has been a qualitative change in methodologies and tools. Before 2009, each project was an exercise in creativity and the consultant had to create almost no methodologies, so it was also difficult to put the results into context. Now, there is a battery of basic tools that work very well, and we are even in the process of having an ISO standard in this field.
Another issue that is striking is how increasingly, not only direct impacts on organizations, but also impacts along the value chain are incorporated. It will be very relevant in the coming years to incorporate small and medium enterprises in this process.
Based on the international experience with Factor CO2, how are you addressing this issue in other countries?
Each country logically works according to its resources and technical knowledge. However, fortunately, in recent years, thanks to multilateral funding, there are more resources to tackle such projects in developing countries. In some cases, there is even the paradox that some developing countries have more sophisticated monitoring and evaluation tools than developed countries.
Thanks to this, we have worked, for example, in the development of national adaptation plans such as that of Costa Rica, in projects to monetize impacts in Caribbean countries and in strategic work in cities. In recent times, these projects increasingly include a funding component that allows the identified actions to be transformed into concrete projects.
What is the methodology of work that Factor CO2 follows to assist organizations that want to act on adaptation to climate change?
In this area we work with both governments and companies. In both cases, the process may be analogous. The first thing that is needed is good information to know how we are going to affect climate change. In this regard, we work with the technical team of Meteoclim (Factor partners in this area) in the development of the necessary climate projections, taking into account the most relevant impacts.
From there, we use different methodologies according to the objectives and resources available. The traditional methodology is the analysis of climatic risks that allows us to objectify the most important risks and to evaluate them with multi-criterion methods. Sometimes, we use monetization methodologies to work later on the cost-benefit analysis of adaptation actions.
What is truly important, and perhaps the key criterion in this work, is to begin by setting priorities. It is very easy to get lost in the details, because adaptation often affects many aspects of organizations. If we do not know where we want to go, it is difficult to choose the best route.