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Spain Aims to Cut Energy use by 1 Pct a Year - Report

Date: 12-Feb-07
Country: SPAIN

The government aims to raise electricity prices, ban coal-fired central heating from 2012, limit air conditioning and penalise the most fuel-hungry vehicles, it said.

Spain's greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 were 49 percent over 1990 levels -- the highest of any Kyoto backer -- and it has to cut that to a 15 percent increase by 2008-12, under its commitment to the international agreement to curb climate change named after the Japanese city where it was signed.

El Pais said the government wanted regional authorities to send inspectors to public and commercial buildings to make sure their thermostats were set at the most efficient temperature, and introduce efficiency standards for air conditioning equipment.

Sales of air conditioners have soared in recent years and power companies now have to cope with pronounced summer peaks in demand for electricity.

Other measures, such as energy efficiency standards and compulsory solar panels on all new buildings, are already largely in force.

The report is due to be discussed with regional governments on Tuesday, together with the Environment Ministry's latest assessment on the impact of climate change in Spain.

That document, leaked to El Pais on Saturday, uses the same data the ministry has published in the past. It could be made obsolete by new scientific data within a few months, the daily El Mundo said.

It forecasts the average temperature is likely to rise by 2 degrees Celsius between 2011 and 2040.

By the end of the century, depending on the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, average temperatures could rise by 5 to 6 Celsius.

Inland areas would be worse hit than coastal ones, with temperatures in July rising as much as 7 Celsius, the leaked report shows. That is in line with forecasts the ministry has used in the past.

The report has differing forecasts for rain patterns.

One study says there will be little change, while another sees a 17 percent fall in the amount of rain falling by 2060.

Spain, and some other Mediterranean countries, are particularly at risk because much of the country is already hot and dry, and prone to desertification.

A ministry report last year shows more than 30 percent of Spain's land is already at high or very high risk of desertification.

In the Canary Islands and Valencia well over 50 percent of land is classified as high risk.

Global warming speeds this process by drying up soil moisture faster.

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