Catalonia passes climate change law to reduce emissions by 100% by 2050

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3 August 2017

LONDON: The parliament of Catalonia has just passed the “Climate Change Bill”, a law that will strengthen the region’s climate efforts; the law aims to create a tax for large vessels and business activities that produce pollution.

The autonomous community of Spain, which serves as co-chair for The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance and is part of the Under2 Coalition, has an ambitious plan to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2030, based on 2005 levels. The new law aims to reduce emissions by 65% by 2040 and 100% by 2050.

Carles Puigdemont, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia says, “This law reinforces the international positioning of Catalonia in line with that established by the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The struggle against climate change is not a project of the Government of Catalonia, but rather a national challenge … It is something that has a direct impact on our prosperity and the economic model on which our country is based.”


As the first law of its kind in the south of Europe, the Climate Change Bill will tax businesses about $10 for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted – a number that will raise to about $30 in 2025. Large ships will be taxed about $1,000 for each ton of nitrogen oxide emitted, and the bill will also reinforce the existing carbon tax on polluting cars.

The money raised through these taxes will fund a host of climate actions, such as promoting renewable energy and energy-efficient houses.

“Catalonia is showing how bold policies are necessary to shift towards a cleaner, healthier economy,” says Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group. “As the European co-chair of our States & Regions Alliance, the Catalan government is picking up the challenge and the opportunity arising from climate change.

“This law shows how collaboration between businesses and policymakers is crucial to achieve this ambitious goal, and how state and regional governments are at the forefront of climate action.”


Catalonia has been at the forefront of transparent climate action, agreeing to voluntarily disclose its emissions and ambitious climate targets on an annual basis since 2014 as part of The Climate Group and CDP’s Annual Disclosure initiative with states and regions.

Between 2005 and 2014, CDP data shows the Catalonia reduced its emissions by 26% – exceeding the initial 25% reduction target by 2020, based on 2005 levels. By doing so, it was one of the seven governments who disclosed in 2016 that reached its 2020 target several years in advance.

The region also has a target of achieving a 20% share of renewable energy in its total energy consumption by 2020, and has also energy-efficient targets in place.

The Catalan government will now have to approve the plans for implementing the two new taxes before December 1 this year, with the new law to going into force in 2019.

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