Spain's CO2 Emissions Probably Stabilised in 2006
Author: Julia Hayley
Spain's greenhouse gas output in 2005 was 53 percent more than in 1990, the reference year for the Kyoto agreement, under which most developed countries have agreed to curb their emissions in a bid to slow global warming. Spain has vowed to keep emissions growth to 15 percent.
"We think there will be either a stablisation or a slight reduction overall (in 2006)," said Joaquin Nieto, environment secretary for CCOO, one of Spain's two big trade unions.
"That is a major change in direction from recent years," he added. CCOO and environmental group Worldwatch typically publish their estimates of Spain's emissions months before official figures are available.
Years of economic growth of around 3 percent backed by a booming and energy-hungry construction industry, plus a rising population and improving living standards, have driven Spain's emissions relentlessly higher.
Industry is successfully curbing its CO2, but transport, household and services emissions soared in 2005 and were expected to keep climbing in 2006.
The power industry association Unesa said on Thursday its CO2 output last year fell 7.8 percent compared with 2005, despite producing 3.5 percent more electricity from fossil and nuclear fuels.
The government said on Friday the Unesa data was good news and noted that overall electricity consumption rose only 2.5 percent in 2006, while economic growth is seen at 3.8 percent.
Two months of heavy rain at the end of the year boosted hydroelectric production. In Iberdrola's case it rose 50 percent to 14 percent of the total, and Union Fenosa's hydropower rose 88 percent to make up 12 percent of its total, the power companies said this week.
Spain's primary energy consumption, which includes imports of transport fuel and household gas, fell 1 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2006, Nieto said.
"That is indicative of a moderation in energy consumption for the year as a whole," he told Reuters.
The government has introduced energy efficiency standards for new buildings in recent months, but has yet to tackle public awareness or make any meaningful attempt to curb car usage.
The Environment Ministry is relying on flexible measures in the Kyoto agreement, such as winning carbon credits from backing emissions-saving projects in non-Kyoto countries, to offset much of its CO2 growth to date.