Monday, May 29, 2023
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The lack of attention to climate change in Spain

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Vicente Navarro. Scientific Council of ATTAC Spain

In recent days, the Spanish media seem to have discovered the irreversible negative impact that climate change has on the welfare of populations. In fact, Spain has been absent from the major centres of reflection on one of the main problems that humanity is faced with. Such reflection in this country has just begun. In fact, today there are still neoliberal economic gurus, wearing coats of many colours (always close to the financial and economic interests), which enjoy great media projection, which until recently had denied that climate change existed, and when at last have had to accept that something is happening to the climate, now they deny that this change is due to human intervention.

It is an indicator of what a tremendously conservative media culture there is in this country that these characters continue to have similar projection. Even presidents of the Spanish government, such as Mr Aznar, the prototype of the Spanish Right (equivalent to the extreme right in Europe), have denied that there is climate change. His party, the PP, has dismantled some of the laws such as the Coastal Act and the Forest Act protecting the environment and the maintenance of forests, absorbing CO2 highs. One consequence of the lack of attention paid to the climate issue by the political and media establishment in this country, always very sensitive to the financial powers, is that some of the largest cities in Spain -Barcelona and Madrid- have contamination levels above those considered acceptable under international laws.

Something must be done

But outside of Spain, there is a growing sense of urgency that something must be done, I repeat, to avoid greater evils. And a part of this consensus is that one of the major causes of the deterioration of the climate is precisely the non-renewable energy sources, such as coal, oil and gas, major CO2 producers (although other sources are being described as methane, considered worse than CO2 and produced in fracking). These are gases that trap heat which warms the globe.

The "anti CO2" of the twenty-first century will be similar to the "anti-smoking" of the twentieth

It is interesting to see the parallels that exist in how companies have responded to the threat of smoking and the threat caused by the generation of CO2. At first, the tobacco industry denied that there was a relationship between smoking and a battery of diseases ranging from lung and pancreatic cancer to hypertension. Well, something similar is happening with the oil and coal companies and their products' harmful effect on the environment. Tobacco companies spent millions of dollars and Euros to fund studies to show that such damage actually did not exist. Today, oil and coal companies have been doing the same, but they are losing the battle, as the the tobacco argument was lost years ago (now "anti-smoking" is widespread in the world).



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