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Spain seriously failing on green energy: report

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Spain seriously failing on green energy: report
Photo of a wind farm in Spain: Shutterstock
11:24 CET+01:00
Spain's "retroactive" policies are damaging the country's renewable energy sector, with the country slipping down the rankings fast, a new study on action against climate change reveals.

Spain is ranked 28th in the world when it come to climate change policies according to the 2015 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) which looks at the 61 countries responsible for 90 percent of global CO2 emissions.

That puts Spain in a group of countries described as having a "moderate" rating in terms of effectiveness in fighting climate change. Fellow members of this group include countries such as Italy, India, Indonesia and Egypt.

It also means Spain has fallen eight places in the last 12 months, the report put together by the environmental organisations Climate Action Network Europe and Germanwatch shows.

Most damning of all is Spain's record on green energy.

"Politically retroactive measures have ruined the dynamics in the renewables sector and, as a result, Spain slides down 37 places in this category. In addition, the country is opposing progressive measures on an international scale," the report's authors said.

Spain, which is responsible for 0.81 percent of global CO2 emissions, is now among the "very poor" performers in this category, the CCPI reveals.

Spain has received widespread criticism in recent times for a decision to tax people who produce solar energy using their own panels. According to the government, the policy was introduced to help Spain slash a massive debt to power producers built up over years of subsidizing energy prices for end consumers. 

Private individuals who fail to hook their solar panels up to the national grid to be metered and taxed face fines of up to €30 million ($40 million) under the new law.

Critics say the move acts as a huge disincentive for people to install solar panels.

The green energy sector also highlights Spain's decision to scrap subsidies for green businesses, a move which has seen many investors owing money to the banks.

Mixed performance from European countries
 
Denmark topped the ranking in the CCPI report followed by Sweden and the United Kingdom.
 
France remained in 12th position, while Germany maintained its position at 22nd, despite large investments in renewable energy.
 
The Netherlands plummeted eight places from last year, while Austria dropped five to number 36
 
China, the world's biggest emitter, was ranked at number 45. The report pointed to improvements in the efficiency sector and massive investments in renewables. 
 
The last place (61) in the CCPI is occupied by Saudi Arabia, which has the worst record on curbing the growth of its emission trends, and lack of investment in renewable energy.
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