Since 2018, the island of Mallorca, along with the other Balearic Islands, have been gearing up for a fight against environmental degradation. Called the “green manifesto” by the Guardian newspaper, the formal title is the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition. It is being touted as a blueprint for environmental regulatory change in Europe. Find out more about this revolutionary new plan.
What is it?
The Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition is a series of legal actions to be put in place to eventually completely eradicate the use of fossil fuels on the island and only use renewable energy by 2050. The laws were approved in February 2019, and implementation will start as soon as this year.
Some of the more dramatic aspects emanating from the new law include the now-authorised partial closure of the heavily polluting Es Murterar power plant near Alcudia. At present, this plant belches out 27% of all CO2 emissions in the Balearics. Total closure is scheduled for 2025. The law also is planning to stop the sale of new diesel-engine cars from 2025 and petrol ones from 2035.
Finally, climate and energy plans will be established every five years. These will serve as targets for municipalities and companies to hit at regular intervals, ensuring compliance.
What are the Goals?
Goals are ambitious, yet attainable. By 2050, the island is hoping for a 90% reduction in carbon emissions. Additionally, the aim is to increase energy efficiency by 40% based on 2005 levels and also to be using only 100% renewable energy sources by the same time period.
Government subsidies and incentives will assist in making the transition to clean energy sources. These will largely be in solar and wind power. In addition, €40 million has been earmarked already for the creation of photovoltaic parks.
What is Already being Done?
Switching from pollution-causing coal to power generated by the island’s abundant sunshine makes sense, both practically and economically. The abolition of the controversial “sun tax” has gone a long way toward making solar power a more attractive option. Sales for private homes have skyrocketed, highlighting the desire the citizenry has for clean energy alternatives.
Initially, some of the regional climate change laws were at loggerheads with the Spanish central government. Madrid had not been able to come to an agreement on the law as quickly as here in the Balearics, and therefore prohibited the laws from taking effect.
Recently, the government has decided to make an exception for the islands allowing the 2025 ban on the sale of new diesel cars to go forward as planned.
Moreover, any new public buses entering the fleet will run on either natural gas or electricity. Car hire firms are also doing their part. Staring in 2020, a portion of their fleets must incorporate electric vehicle options for clients, with an eventual 100% shift.
What else can be done to the greening of Mallorca?
Outside the new laws, the Balearic government has also been trying to lure green technology companies to set up shop here to further bulk up the green resume. The “Sun and Data Campaign” is looking to tempt tech entrepreneurs to make Mallorca their home. Since its inception, roughly 170 companies employing 3000 people have made the move.
This puts Mallorca firmly on the front lines of what is happening technology-wise in the environmental world. It also creates higher paying jobs outside the saturated tourism industry, making the island an attractive place for budding start-ups and higher-skilled labour.
Mallorca is on its way to becoming a leader in environmentalism for Spain and for Europe. It is an exciting time to be here and exciting to be part of the change. With the government doing their part, let’s all remember to do ours too. Go green, Mallorca!