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Environment

Spain Plans to Reach 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Why Global Citizens Should Care
If countries don’t rapidly transition to renewable energy economies, the consequences of climate change could have devastating global impacts. Spain is setting an example with an ambitious new plan to leave fossil fuels behind. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Spain committed to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2050 on Wednesday, quickly becoming a leader in the Paris climate agreement, according to the Guardian.

The country will also reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by 90% compared to 1990 levels.

“By planning on going carbon neutral, Spain shows that the battle against climate change is deadly serious, that they are ready to step up and plan to reap the rewards of decarbonisation,” Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation, told the Guardian.

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

If the worst consequences of climate change are to be averted, nearly every country in the world has to pursue a fully renewable energy future. Currently, however, very few countries have precisely detailed how they plan to get there. Some countries, like the US, are actively going in the opposite direction.

Spain has broken from the pack with its latest announcement.

The country intends to create 3,000 megawatts’ worth of solar and wind energy every year over the next decade, which is enough to power an additional 4.5 million households per year. That same amount of energy would power only 1.5 million households in the US or Canada, which use far more energy per capita on average.

Read More: 5 Things You Can Do Now in Response to the UN's Terrifying New Climate Report

In 2017, Spain generated 33.7% of its electricity from renewable sources, with wind farms accounting for 19.7% the energy total, and solar accounting for 5.4%.

The country currently gets the bulk of its electricity from nuclear power plants, which do not generate greenhouse gas emissions, but are not renewable like solar and wind and consume enormous amounts of water for cooling purposes.  

As far as fossil fuel sources go, Spain gets 17.4% from coal and 13.8% from natural gas.

The country announced that it will no longer issue licenses for new fossil fuel ventures, according to the Guardian. It will also dedicate 20% of the government budget to climate change mitigation measures, which could range from investing in renewable energy to expanding green spaces.

Read More: Humans Could Face Extinction if We Don't Protect Biodiversity: UN

Spain has focused on making cities more green in recent years by allowing pedestrians to reclaim large chunks of urban spaces.

While the country has made efforts to limit car use in the past, its latest announcement does not include measures for the phasing out fossil fuel vehicles. Other countries like France, the United Kingdom, and India have vowed to get rid of petroleum and diesel-based cars in the decades ahead.

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The new announcement also says that energy efficiency will increase by 35% over the next 11 years, coal mines will be phased out, and workers in the fossil fuel industry will be retrained for clean energy jobs.