- The environmental organization publishes a detailed evaluation of the España Puede Plan during Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Spain and points out the plan impact will depend on how and to whom the funds are allocated.
- The plan should not support false solutions that damage ecosystems, increase pollution, and extend the life of fossil fuels.
- The organization denounces the lack of measures in the plan to transform the agri-food system.
- España Puede does not include indicators to evaluate the impact on the ecological transition, the reduction of the gender gap, or the territorial balance.
Madrid, June 16, 2021-. Greenpeace warned today that the Government’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, España Puede, which will provide Spain access to European funds, does not guarantee the green and fair recovery the country needs.
The environmental organization presented a detailed plan assessment during Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, visit to Spain to approve the Spanish government plan. The evaluation focuses on the ecological transition measures, whose investments account for 40.29% of the total budget. The document not only takes into account environmental aspects but also economic, social, and governance aspects.
Greenpeace highlighted 71 points: 28 obtain a favorable evaluation -most relating to environmental issues-; 28 present risks, uncertainties or the information provided was inadequate to assess them -12 of them environmental; the remaining relate to social, economic, and governance aspects – and 15 points were evaluated negatively, including the transformation of the agri-food system, an issue the plan seems to have forgotten.
“The current economic, social and environmental crisis can only be addressed by transforming the current economic and social system. The España Puede Plan must not serve the interests of the energy, aviation, tourism, and agri-food sectors. They must not be allowed to continue with their usual modus operandi. The green and fair recovery depends on how the plan’s projects and reforms are executed. We will closely monitor their progress. It is essential for society to perceive the benefits of this plan,” said Alicia Cantero, Greenpeace spokesperson.
Based on the analysis, Greenpeace concludes that the results of the plan in terms of socio-ecological transformation are subject to a high degree of uncertainty, due in part to issues not considered and the reliance on the execution of reforms and investments.
According to Greenpeace, the outcome will depend, on the one hand, on how the PERTE selection processes and aid schemes develop and, on the other hand, on the awards and executions by the beneficiaries.
The environmental organization also notes how the lack of specific indicators makes it difficult to monitor and evaluate the plan’s impact on the ecological transition, on the reduction of the gender gap, and on territorial rebalancing.
Last, Greenpeace also demands civil society participation in decision making to be more effective, more information transparency, and emphasizes the need to ensure social policies are not regarded as a bargaining chip for economic and employment recovery.
“The recovery from the economic and social crisis resulting from COVID-19 presents a unique opportunity to perform the systemic transformations we have been demanding from many different circles for years,” concludes Cantero.
THE 10 KEY ASPECTS OF THE PLAN
Greenpeace highlights the ten aspects needed for the plan to have a positive impact and contribute to a green and fair recovery.
1/ No financing for projects that negatively impact the environment
The plan must ensure the strict application of the “do no harm” principle. No reform, measure, or project financed by European recovery funds should put pressure on ecosystems, produce higher pollutant emissions, prolong the life of fossil fuels such as gas (or nuclear energy), or create social and territorial inequalities.
2/ The recovery requires economic and tax reforms
Not just funds. The transformation must incorporate structural reforms, such as phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies, more use of green public procurement, a tax reform including green taxation, and other incentives to enable the green transition.
3/ Do not put all eggs in the PERTE basket.
The transformation of our energy, transportation, and city models, amongst others, must not be a mere technological revolution. It is necessary to promote reforms and changes in our city model, rural environment, and in the way we move, eat, work and generate energy, in addition to solving territorial inequalities and the gender gap.
4/ Avoid a hydrogen bubble (even a green one): electrification first
Limit the development of green hydrogen to satisfying energy consumption that is impossible to electrify (e.g., heavy transport) or as raw material for industrial processes: refineries, metallurgy, etc.
Greenpeace urges policymakers to ensure the gas lobby’s strategy does not include the use of blue hydrogen as this hydrogen results from burning fossil gas. It is highly probable that fossil fuel companies, which are now championing this new technological revolution, will want to make their existing investments more profitable by extending the life of their gas plants and infrastructures.
5/ Yes to electric cars, but fewer cars in cities
Electric cars are essential, but so is changing our mobility patterns, especially in cities, where they take up space. Therefore incentives should primarily go to rural areas and towns with less access to alternative modes of transport.
The transformation involves more and better public transport, creating more bike lanes, implementing Low Emission Zones, higher investment in trains, improving the existing rail network, and reducing short-haul flights.
6) Friendlier cities for the people and the planet
In addition to the needed mobility revolution, the urban fabric transformation will require more investments. New city models, linked partly to working on-site and teleworking, must emerge to reach the plan’s goals: more public and green spaces evenly distributed among neighborhoods. Additionally to the rehabilitation and energy efficiency efforts included in the plan, European funds must be allocated to local energy communities and building solarization.
7) An renewable energy deployment that is quick and biodiversity-friendly
It is essential to achieve a 100% renewable electricity system and to guarantee that neither the installation of wind farms, photovoltaic, etc. nor the associated infrastructure promote biodiversity loss.
The Autonomous Communities must draw a plan for future facilities (including evacuation infrastructures) which does not conflict with the environmental values and services of the territory. They must also thoroughly monitor all administrative, approval, and execution procedures.
8) More energy in the hands of citizens
Local energy communities can and must play a crucial role in this crucial energy transition as it represents an opportunity to build a new distributed, non-speculative energy model with flexible capacity; a model where energy efficiency, energy-saving, society’s participation, and intelligence (technological and social) become central aspects to building the needed 100% renewable system.
Although the plan’s objectives include stimulating this potential, promoting social participation in the energy transition, and developing energy communities, a specific strategy is essential to define binding objectives, mechanisms, and tools to utilize the recovery funds and support the new organizational models controlled by citizens, SMEs, and local authorities.
9) Transform the agri-food model
The forgotten issue in the España Puede Plan is the agri-food system. It is urgent to rethink the priorities of the agricultural and livestock model and promote a transformation towards sustainability, an ecological footprint reduction (carbon and water), and the acknowledgment of the physical limits of the territory. Support for extensive livestock farming and organic agriculture is fundamental to change the present model.
Food consumption patterns also need to change by promoting access to kilometer zero products from small farmers and sustainable origin.
10) SMEs recovery, not IBEX recovery
The plan must prevent big corporations with greater economic and technological power to control the funds. To this end, the Government must facilitate fund access to SMEs, micro-SMEs, to social, sustainable, and solidarity economy enterprises, to self-employed individuals, and to those sectors and clusters whose activity contributes to a green, fair and equitable recovery which fixes the territorial imbalance.