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Kyoto-Paris. Evolution of GHG emissions in Spain

23 June 2017

There is widespread consensus on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate global warming and climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol approved in 1997 and whose entry into force in 2005 was the first attempt of international agreement to regulate, reducing, these emissions. The commitment was to reduce the production of CO2 emissions, not exceeding a maximum established for each country.

A renewal-updating of the agreements takes place in Paris in December 2015, with a view to 2030. It appears that as of November 2016, 97 of the 197 signatory countries had ratified the agreement.

For Spain, it was initially considered that these emissions could only be increased by 2012, by 15% compared to 1990, which was taken as the base year.

It can be observed a constant increase from 1990 to the year 1997 that exceeds the committed 15%.

From this date, and during the following ten years, the increases are spectacular, moving away very significantly from the commitment acquired, until reaching in 2007 a share of increase of 53.91 with respect to the point of exit.

From this date a significant drop is observed until reaching only a 9.3% increase on the 15 "allowed" in 2012 and already in 2013 it has dropped from 15%, where it has remained approximately since then.

Two factors have been the causal factors for this significant fall:

  • In the period 2008-2012, about 800 million euros were spent on the purchase of emission rights.
  • Since 2008, energy consumption in the country has decreased as a result of the economic crisis, with greenhouse gas emissions being related to the consumption and growth model.

In March 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, publishes a report entitled "Inventory of Spanish Emissions, Emissions of Greenhouse Gases. Series 1990-2015 ", a report from which we extracted the following graph, similar to the previous one, but with a slight decrease in the figures (of the order of 3 percentage points).

  1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2013 2014 2015
Emisiones GEI (CO2-eq) 287.828 327.885 385.588 439.556 356.761 322.874 324.215 335.662
Variación vs año base1 99,0% 112,8% 132,7% 151,3% 122,8% 111,1% 111,6% 115,5%

In the same month and year (March 2017) the Spanish Electricity Network publishes its report "Commitment against climate change" [1], which sets out the different measures taken by the company to achieve the desired GHG reduction.

It will be necessary to evaluate the variations - according to the different sources - that intervene in these increases: we anticipate a scheme where it is clearly observed that the main source of pollutant increase is coal.

It will also be necessary to examine this item by sector (transport, cement, refineries, etc.). It would also be necessary to consider more closely the evolution of CO2 increase rates in our country in the last 2 years, since in this regard - The media owners we attach - the data are contradictory, waiting for official data whose difficulties of compilation and publication are delayed.

Another line of examination should consider the position, which in this respect of GHGs, plays our country in the European context to which it belongs. We will do it in the next post.

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