Ports reveal unprecedented surge in harmful emissions; officials blame COVID-19 logjam
MADRID — Spain’s new maritime borders opened this month with no room for doubt that the country is turning a corner when it comes to tackling the scourge of climate emissions.
In the first few months of the new government, a series of announcements and actions by Spain’s new prime minister have pushed the country’s emissions levels up to a new peak, according to data from the International Maritime Organization.
The result has been a huge increase in marine emissions, with a clear message to the international community that the government is serious about slashing greenhouse gas emissions.
The government of Mariano Rajoy has announced a series of actions aimed at cutting emissions in the marine sector through measures both ambitious and achievable.
On April 22, the government announced it would open the first new port in five years: the port of Cádiz, on the coast of Andalusia province.
The new port, a first for the country, will handle 40 million tons of cargo annually — the equivalent of 40 million cars.
It will feature a new deepwater harbor and other improvements, including improved port infrastructure, which allows for more efficient use of the port by providing more efficient loading and unloading.
The government is also announcing measures to reduce harmful marine emissions to 80 million tons a year, the equivalent of about 800 new cars. Officials acknowledge this is a long way off from the 80 million tons that would be needed to achieve the new European target of a carbon neutrality for the entire European Union at a cost of less than 20 billion euros annually.
The government’s ambitious plan also comes at the same time as it faces a major logjam to open new ports required by EU law. The U.K. and a number of nations in the EU have demanded that Spain open two new ports.
The EU has asked to hold a so-called “blocking vote” on whether to grant the EU access to the two ports, a vote that could lead to the closure of both ports.
However, the government has said it would not oppose EU membership because the new ports are needed for its economy.
European Union officials have also warned Spanish officials that they will need a legal agreement in order to grant access to the ports. The EU has rejected