Much has been said about the Climatic Emergency throughout this last month. The tenacity with which Greta Thunberg defends the State of Climate Emergency adds to the appearance of new movements and environmental groups that join the existing ones, to raise their voice in defense of the environment. They fight in search of this Declaration by governments and institutions, they fight for their future and for ours.
It is an almost recent term that appeared in Australia in 2016, after the Paris Agreement in 2015, where an open letter signed by different social actors caused reactions in some administrations. Six months later, the State of Climate Emergency was unanimously approved in The Darebin City Citizen Council. But it won’t be until 2019 when due to the demands of the different movements, administrations (state, regional and local) take a step forward joining the statement, gathering a total of 800 that continue growing. Spain joined on September 17 when Congress declared the climatic emergency. Before doing so, the Central Government several localities had joined the declaration, such as Zaragoza, which did it on July 31, 2019.
But what exactly does this Statement means? It may actually come to mean nothing at all if that statement is not accompanied by a package of measures that can address climate change. Specifically, it is about applying solutions in a transversal way to the policies of each country, where all economic, social, cultural, environmental or educational decisions take into account the environmental needs in search of sustainability. In addition, our governments should also promote strategies, actions and budgets that ensure adaptation and resilience to climate change.
An Energy Transition on people hands
Among these measures we can find some as popular as the reduction of emissions or the Energy Transition. Concepts that have evolved over time and to which new features have been added that understand a greater benefit for society. We are talking about the Democratic Energy Transition, which consists of a change in the energy model in people’s hands. It is about promoting the decentralization of energy systems through energy efficiency and renewable energy to achieve local and citizen empowerment. Because although the technology necessary to carry out the transition exists, it will already be social, political and institutional factors that will make this transition happen or not.
Therefore, it is not only useful to generate energy in a clean and sustainable way, but it also matters who generates that energy. We come from an energy market where energy is a product (and not a right) that a few companies exploit. But energy is necessary to live in our houses, jobs, getting around and how it is generated matters, and who distribute and who sells it matters … that’s why, although renewable energy increase in the energy mix of our country and in that of other countries, the mix energy cannot change at the expense only of auctions attended by big enterprises. A change is needed, and that change comes by the hand of the self-consumption, to empower people, to generate their own energy, to know about the energy.
Only like this, people not only will demand the declaration of Climatic Emergency but they will achieve a Real Energy Transition, in which people matter, their energy, how it is generated and who generates it.
We talk about the responsibility that each one of us has before this process. We need a society that claims its right to energy but also be able to manage itself both its generation and its consumption. To achieve this we must set aside leaving energy decisions in the hands of the experts who have controlled the market so far and convince ourselves that with help and adequately information, our society is capable of making its own decisions; exercising thus their citizenship status, claiming their rights and exercising their responsibilities. So we need a change of mentality, a changing culture that will necessarily go through citizen empowerment.
Meanwhile in Spain…
As we have commented the declaration of the Climate Emergency is a reality that people are claiming to defend its future and that in Spain a month ago was declared. However, our political situation of blockade does not allow us to advance in this topic, so we are still waiting for the strategies and measures mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Clean energy generation has been a clear commitment around Europe for a long time and now, finally, it seems that in Spain too. Despite the fact that the sun is an abundant resource in this country, it has not been easy that the governments promote the generation of solar and wind farms again. It has been more difficult to override the legislation that did penalize distributed generation (former RD 900/2015); something to which we should add the traditional opacity of the energy market in our country.
But it seems that the sun and the wind begin to have greater penetration in Spain. Not only the bad image that the production of solar energy once had is being diluted, but it appears as an opportunity for a new energy model. They are natural resources that abound in our country and to which we have free access. What then prevents us from taking advantage of them? A great misinformation and legislation against it throughout these years ago seem to be the answer to this question.
But the national scene has changed since the repeal of the known as Sun Tax and the regulation of self-consumption (RD 15/2018 and RD 244/2019). The legislation seems to be serving the needs of society again and according to the times, so we cannot miss this opportunity. Nowadays a photovoltaic installation in your house or in your company is one of the best investments that can be made, for different reasons: no bank gives higher profitability, you will know and control your consumption and all this without emitting CO2 into the atmosphere, but above all, you will contribute democratizing (and lower the consumption of) the energy, the system of a few falls apart if thousands of houses generate their own clean energy and become the energy of all.