Spain’s Plan to Quit the Coal Industry Explained | NowThis World

Climate change is happening And one industry in particular, will have to undergo a huge transformation and all but disappear by 2050…

The coal industry But what does this mean for that industry and governments around the world? And what about the workers the coal industry employs? We’re taking a look at the steps one country is taking to prepare for a clean energy economy, while trying to make sure no one gets left behind To avoid the most devastating consequences of climate change, a United Nations panel of scientists recently warned that drastic action is required around the world [Sanchez]The climate change we are facing is global and cross-cutting It directly affects a great many sectors such as housing, tourism, water mobility, to name just a few

But this ecological transition which is starting to be known in many forms as the Green New Deal should not instill fear [Host] In Spain, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez came into power in 2018 And one of his government's priorities was taking immediate action to address climate change That meant drastic action to limit Spain’s coal industry The country had to comply with a European Union directive that said that public funds could no longer be used to keep unprofitable coal mines open

This meant that those mines had to be shut down by the end of 2018 And that’s exactly what happened By December 2018, roughly three out of four of Spain’s coal miners clocked out of work for the last time Spain’s socialist government cut a deal with several affiliated miner’s unions, referred to as the ‘Just Transition’ deal The deal aimed to protect blue collar workers from some of the economic pain that mine closures would inflict

The deal would send 250 million euros, or roughly 285 million US dollars, to Spain’s mining regions over the next ten years This money would be spent on upgrading infrastructure in mining communities, like recycling or waste management facilities Funds would also be spent on things like forest recovery and reducing noise pollution, as well as other environmental needs

Some observers have pointed to this deal as an example of a popular climate policy that could be used as a model to be exported to other countries They say the working-class people employed by these industries would not be hit with the largest burden That’s because this deal also ensured that roughly 60% of miners – those over age 48, or with over 25 years of service – would qualify for early retirement And younger miners? Well they’ll receive severance pay and be first in line for jobs to environmentally revive former mining sites But the deal isn’t perfect

While the Spanish government has started registering miners for new jobs, those positions might not be available until 2020 And that’s probably why some miners are really skeptical about this plan, as they wait to receive the benefits of the Just Transition deal One miner told HuffPost last year that quote “The government only speaks about global warming, but they want to close the mine for [economic] reasons” This type of sentiment could become a real challenge for Sanchez’s government moving forward — if the citizens most affected by this transition policy, don’t believe that it is necessary in the first place While support for a ‘Just Transition’ deal among Spain’s miners is still up in the air, Sanchez’s government is plotting its next moves on climate policy

Parliament is currently considering the Climate Change and Energy Transition Law, which would set ambitious targets for moving Spain’s economy away from all fossil fuels Spain would stop issuing new licenses for oil and gas exploration in Spanish waters and all drilling would end by 2040 Also, every car sold in Spain would have to be a ‘zero emission’ vehicle by that year And workers whose jobs would be affected by the transition would receive financial support and job training, according to the new plan To be clear, this is an ambitious plan

So we’ll be watching to see how Spain gets it done

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