Castles in the Air
The Spanish State, Public Funds and the EU ETS

by Beatriz Martínez and Tamra Gilbertson

first published 31 May 2012

Under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, Spain has been allowed to increase its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent over 1990 levels. Between 1990 and 2007 alone, however total emissions increased by 53 per cent, driven partly by a speculative boom in construction. A 'coal decree' subsidizes domestic coal burning for power generation until 2014, including a 393 million euro handout of tax money in 2011 that contributed to an estimated 35 per cent increase in CO2 emissions in that year. At the same time, the Spanish state devotes public money to create funds helping polluting industries create or buy 'offsets' that they use to avoid reducing emissions at source.