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Spain In brief

What is Spainʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Economy wide

Spain’s national emissions target aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23% below 1990 levels, excluding LULUCF. This equates to a 2030 emissions level of 223 MtCO₂e. To be 1.5°C compatible, Spain would need to reduce its emissions to between 45-62% below 1990 levels by 2030. Spain’s target thus falls short of being in line with the Paris Agreement.

Spainʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
−100%−50%0%50%19902010203020502070
Reference year
1990
1.5°C emissions level
−54%
2030 National target
−23%
Ambition gap
−31%
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions

Net zero GHG

Spain’s long-term ambition is to become a “carbon-neutral” country by 2050, in line with the position adopted by the European Commission.

1 European Environment Agency. EEA greenhouse gases — data viewer. (2021).

2 European Environment Agency. Why did greenhouse gas emissions fall in the EU in 2008? EEA analysis in brief. (2010).

3 IEA. World Energy Balances 2019. (2019).

4 Binnie, I. & Rodríguez, J. Spain scraps ‘sun tax’ in measures to cool electricity prices | Reuters. (2018).

5 Inês, C. et al. Regulatory challenges and opportunities for collective renewable energy prosumers in the EU. Energy Policy 138, 111212 (2020).

6 Valdivia, A. G. Renewable Energy In Spain: From The ‘Sun Tax’ To The Promotion Of Collective Self-Consumption. Forbes. (2019).

7 Government of Spain. Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030. (2020).

8 Government of Spain. Long-Term Decarbonization Strategy 2050. (2020).

9 Burgen, S. Spain’s population set to drop 11% by 2050. The Guardian (2016).

10 Ancygier, A., Shrestha, H. B. & Fuentes, U. Decarbonisation pathways for the EU power sector. Climate Analytics. (2020).

11 Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda. 2020 Update of the Long-Term Strategy for Energy Renovation in the Building Sector in Spain (ERESEE). (2020).

12 IEA. Energy Statistics Data Browser. (2021).

13 Autovista24. Spain introduces MOVES III incentive scheme. Autovista24. (2021).

14 Nicholas, M. & Wappelhorst, S. Spain’s electric vehicle infrastructure challenge: How many chargers will be required in 2030? (2021).

Current policies

According to its national energy and climate plan (NECP), this objective represents at least a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Our analysis shows that Spain’s long-term target is broadly aligned with 1.5°C pathways.

Sectors

Power

  • According to its NECP, Spain aims to increase renewable generation to 74% of the power mix by 2030 and achieve 100% by 2050. This target closely aligns with 1.5°C compatible pathways, which would see Spain’s share of renewable energy fall within the range of 64% and 89% by 2030.
Read full analysis

Buildings

  • Both the emissions intensity and the total emissions of the buildings sector have been on the increase since 2014.
  • Half the 1.5°C pathways reflect lower energy demand in 2050 compared to 2019 levels, which can be achieved through widespread renovation of existing building stock and improved efficiency standards in new buildings.
  • 1.5°C domestic pathways show the buildings sector decarbonising between 2035-2043.
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Industry

  • 1.5°C compatible pathways in Spain would see the industry sector decarbonised between 2041 and 2048.
  • 1.5°C pathways show growth in industrial electrification, with electricity providing 62-71% of industrial demand by 2050.
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Transport

  • All pathways analysed here show rapid electrification of transport, with the potential to reach a third of the transport sector’s total energy consumption in 2030.
  • To be 1.5°C compatible, transport emissions would need to decrease by 79% below 1990 levels by 2040, with the sector reaching zero emissions between 2048 and 2053.
  • Spain’s target to reduce transport emissions to 60 MtCO₂e by 2030 falls short of 1.5°C compatibility, which would see emissions fall to 46-47 MtCO₂e.
Read full analysis

Footnotes