Spain looks to China for cooperation on renewables but worries about overreliance
(China Dialogue, 18 Dec 2020) China has been key to driving down the cost of Spain’s transition to renewables and electric mobility.
“China’s decision to increase its climate ambition and achieve net-zero by 2060 caught almost everyone by surprise,” recalls Antxon Olabe, an environmental economist and adviser to Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition.
However, having followed China’s climate geopolitics closely for years, he believes “it was the only smart strategy,” adding “the Chinese leadership is very capable and works with long-term horizons”.
Days before President Xi Jinping’s announcement on 22 September, Olabe had published a paper calling for an EU–China accord that would strengthen climate ambition. He suggested that China peak emissions this year (instead of before 2030 as the country has pledged) given the downturn brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
“To address the climate emergency, China and the EU need each other, as neither side is in a position to solve a problem that is global in its causes and consequences,” he wrote.
Spain’s energy transition
Both the Spanish private and public sector recognise China’s crucial role in facing the global climate challenge and are looking to China to help the country deploy the green technologies it needs to achieve its climate targets.