Energy poverty rises in Spain

A sharp rise in the number of Spaniards living in the risk of energy poverty was revealed in a report published by the Spanish Association of Environmental Sciences (ACA). According to the report, between 2010 and 2012 the number of households that need to spend a disproportionate amount of their income on electricity and gas bills increased to 16,6% from 12.4% in 2010. In real life, these percentages translate to 7 million people who live in unhealthy conditions of homes that are very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Coupled with mold and humidity and electricity cuts, due to unpaid bills, energy poverty is a social crisis resulting from rising energy prices (roughly 60% since 2007) and decreasing incomes. An annual 7,200 deaths can now be attributed to energy poverty in Spain, in accordance with the measurement system established by the World Health Organisation.


Over 90,000 sign pledge to save the Canaries from new oil & gas

Since the wake of the economic crisis, debt ridden states are promoting heavy footprint investments in resource extraction as the spearhead of their economic recovery strategies. Iconic and ecologically sensitive areas in the Mediterranean are at serious risk, due to oil and gas projects in Spain, Italy and Greece. Particularly at risk are the Canary Islands, Pantelleria in Sicily and the area of the Hellenic Trench, extending from Southern Crete to the Ionian Sea. 


Judicial reform in Spain excludes environmental groups from legal aid

The draft “Law on Free Legal Aid”, which was presented to the Cabinet on 21 February by Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, excludes environmental groups from the right to seek free legal aid. Specifically, par. 3 of art. 2 of the draft law, which revises Law 1/1996 on the same subject, now excludes charitable associations (associaciones de utilidad pública) defending environmental causes from the right to legal aid without having to prove insufficient means for litigation.


WWF calls for green way out of the economic crisis

An environmentally and socially sustainable exit from the current financial crisis, in order to preserve the natural capital that underpins successful economic activity; is urgently needed, stresses WWF ahead of the Informal Meeting of the European Council gathering in Brussels on 23 May.


Spain: fewer wildfires, more problems in forest protection

As the 2013 wildfire season has not yet ended, Spain has been fortunate to experience fewer in number and less devastating wildfire incidents, compared to previous years. This however was the consequence of a relatively mild summer and high levels of springtime rainfall - not the result of properly equipped and coordinated wildfire prevention and combatting mechanisms.


Civil society teams up against oil drilling in the Canaries

Spain’s major environmental NGOs, including WWF Spain, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Ecologists in Action and SEO/Birdlife, have united under a joint campaign to halt the oil extraction plans offshore Lanzarote and Fuerteventura islands by energy giants Repsol, RWE and Woodside.

The $10 billion project is currently undergoing review by the MAGRAMA, Spain’s Agriculture, Food and Environment Ministry, following a period of public comments on the EIA. According to WWF Spain, the EIA is "plagued with omissions, vagueness and imprecision", which renders impossible a thorough review of the plan.


Renewables sink in European crisis

Despite a slight increase, Europe is headed for another weak quarter for clean energy investments, Bloomberg reports, as spending totaled a $10BN, 40% lower than the 2012 Q3 figures. The second quarter of 2013 had seen investments drop to the lowest in more than six years, mainly as a result of cuts in subsidies and retroactive measures, in countries like Germany, Spain and Greece.


Despite crisis, Europeans agree more funding is needed for biodiversity

A recent Flash Eurobarometer survey on the “Attitudes towards biodiversity” may offer a clear message that the majority of EU citizens do not favour measures that undermine the conservation of Europe’s natural treasury.

According to the Flash Eurobarometer 379, which was published earlier in November, “[r]oughly  three  quarters  of  Europeans  totally  agree  that  the  EU  should  better  inform citizens about the importance of biodiversity (72%).  Approximately  two  thirds  of  Europeans  totally  agree  that  the  EU  should  increase  the areas where nature is protected in Europe (65%). 

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