Environmental Court Cases: Greenpeace v Spain

Natural Justice has developed a series of summaries of significant court cases from across the world related to climate change and rights of nature. These are designed for the public, policy makers and practitioners and provide a snapshot of cases that are being brought to courts in order to advance the protection and rights of nature, including seeking ways to hold governments accountable for their international commitments to reducing carbon emissions.

Greenpeace v. SPAIN

Applicants asserted that the Spanish government was not taking adequate action on climate change and asserted that in failing to take adequate action, Spain was in violation of Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action. By 2019, Spain should have approved a National Energy and Climate Plan with climate goals for 2030 and a Long Term Strategy with goals for 2050. Spain’s draft plan was not consistent with the Paris Agreement and Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommendations for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The draft plan only set an emissions goal of 23% by 2030, when a 1.5-degree warning limit would demand a 55% reduction target. The draft plan also promoted the use of fossil fuels for road transportation and allowed for indiscriminate use of “alternative fuels” without providing clarity on which alternatives would be permitted—opening the door for exploitation of this ambiguity by the transport sector.

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