82% of the Basque Parliament backs the Energy Transition and Climate Change Law and Tapia stresses its instrumental significance for the future of the Basque Country


The Basque Regional Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, Arantxa Tapia, stated that the Basque Energy Transition and Climate Change Law, which was approved today by the Basque Parliament, will be an instrumental regulation that will result in future benefits.

During her speech to the Chamber, Tapia thanked the parliamentary groups for the consensus reached, as the draft bill presented by the government was not subject to an amendment to the entire bill. “Even if it does not have the support of everyone,” Tapia pointed out, “the law makes a gesture to everyone. And in this important law, that gesture means a lot. In addition to the support of the two political parties that make up the Government, along with the Basque Nationalist Party and the Socialist Group, we have managed to obtain the collaboration and commitment of the Bildu group, which represents 82% of this Parliament”.

In line with the European Green Deal, competitiveness linked to sustainable, fair development is part of the spirit of this law, as set out in its explanatory memorandum and in the Article 1 of its Objective and Aims.

It aims to take advantage of the opportunities provided by this transition process to drive the competitiveness by transforming Basque industry, based on technological and industrial development and decarbonisation.

A strong response to drive a truly transformative energy transition capable of tackling the threat of climate change requires effective action and significant investment. As a result, the stronger we make our economy and jobs, the better we will be able to tackle this dual challenge and the more successful our response to climate change will be.

Articles of the law
The law consists of 6 chapters, 75 articles, 8 additional provisions, 1 transitional provision and 9 final provisions.
The aim of the law is to achieve resilience, neutrality and a fair transition by 2050. It is a commitment to do everything possible to make the neutrality targets a reality by 2045.

The Energy Transition and Climate Change Law will help bring the Basque Country into line with all of the regulations, policies and plans to which it has expressed its commitment and adherence, which are aimed at achieving neutrality, resilience and a fair transition by 2050.

It sets out a stable legal framework for achieving climate neutrality in the Basque Country by 2050 at the latest and increasing the territory's resilience to climate change. However, it is an ambitious law as it also includes a commitment that the necessary efforts will be made to bring forward the goal of climate neutrality by 2045.

Are there more concrete objectives?

Reality challenges us and we set out a framework for action

The context of this law concludes that climate change is challenging us and that more ambitious action is urgently needed across all sectors at all scales to ensure a sustainable, liveable future.

We are committed to mitigating climate change. This means: reducing emissions, generating and consuming renewable energy and making progress in energy efficiency.

We need to adapt to climate change and establish measures to increase the territory’s resilience.
The law is committed to sustainable, fair development because this transformation will not be possible without equity and social justice.

This law is a pioneer in climate change adaptation to the point of being one of the few laws that currently places adaptation on the same level as mitigation and includes specific measures to make the Basque Country a resilient territory.

Governance will be a hallmark of the law with citizen participation

Regions and local authorities are responsible for more than 70% of the measures to mitigate the impact of climate change and more than 90% of adaptation measures. For this reason, the Law has put citizens at the forefront and set up new bodies to take part in ensuring the law's governance, namely the Basque Office for Energy Transition and Climate Change, the Scientific Committee and the Citizens' Assembly.

One of the functions of this Office will be to closely monitor activity and compliance with the law.

In the citizens' assembly, special attention will be paid to the participation of young people the criterion of gender amongst participants and also in the activity itself.

It is a cross-cutting law that affects all institutions, including local ones

The provincial councils and local entities in the Basque Country must integrate actions related to the law.

Regional councils and municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants must approve climate and energy plans as part of their competences. To this end, the Basque Government shall draw up an instruction manual, within a maximum period of one year from the approval of this Law, setting out the instruments, methodologies and tools that may be used to draw up these Climate and Energy Plans.

The Law also includes other sectoral and territorial policies that will contribute to climate neutrality, such as emission reduction plans, the promotion of the CIRCULAR ECONOMY and decarbonisation of industrial processes, and the optimisation of carbon sinks to increase and maintain their carbon absorption capacity.

A law with criteria of fairness and equity

If there is one differentiating aspect of this law, this is it. The law takes into account the equitable distribution of costs and burdens, paying special attention to the most vulnerable economic sectors, territories and population. It features criteria with mechanisms that pursue territorial, environmental, social and economic cohesion.

In order for this challenge to be tackled with guarantees, the law includes budget sufficiency mechanisms and requires the involvement of development companies.

In this sense, it requires the draft General Budget Law of the Basque Country to allocate 2.5% of these budgets towards adopting climate action measures.

Other Basque public administrations will promote the integration of the energy and climate perspective into their public budgets.

The law also provides for the payment of an annual fee by renewable energy installations, such as wind farms and solar photovoltaic plants, which will be paid to the municipalities affected. Consequently, the implementation on undeveloped land will be taxed - from January 1, 2025 - with a renewable energy fee, which will be used to finance the development of actions to conserve, reinstate and restore the environment.

Obligations for both institutions and companies

This legal regulation affects us all. It also sets out various obligations. For example:

Within one year, we must draw up a fossil fuel divestment plan to ensure that the Basque Government entities that make up the public sector cease as soon as possible (but before 2030 in any event) from directly or indirectly being involved with any type of company, enterprise, initiative or project aimed at prospecting for, refining or processing fossil fuels, including electricity generation that burns fossil fuels.

The contracting bodies of the Basque public administrations must include the obligation to provide the carbon footprint of products, services and supplies whose procurement is put out to tender in the specifications of their contracts.

The law also obliges industrial facilities to calculate their carbon footprint and draw up a plan to minimise it to zero or a negative figure if technically and economically feasible.

This requirement also has an impact on trade and tourism. They will be required to progressively reduce their carbon footprint by calculating it and drawing up a plan to reduce it.

This law is sensitive to agricultural activity and natural heritage, as it could not be otherwise.

It will promote measures to help ensure that 25% of agricultural land in the Basque Country will be managed with organic farming by 2030. Organic livestock farming and local markets will also be promoted. The Law sets out a criterion for the rational use of land.

It also includes a number of actions aimed at increasing the resilience of the territory, both on land and in the continental, marine and coastal aquatic environment.

The main keys to understanding the importance of the Energy Transition and Climate Change Law are:

  1. Committing to decarbonisation
  2. Committing to adapting to climate change
  3. Divestment in the exploitation and extraction of hydrocarbons
  4. Using taxation to promote activities
  5. Calculating the carbon footprint of companies, administrations and public institutions
  6. Effectiveness of the governance system and making use of existing structures
  7. Social Pact for the Energy Transition and Climate Change
  8. Exemplary action by the Administration
  9. Gender perspective
  10. Fair transition