The Balearic government may be forced to park its pioneering climate change policy before it has even got into gear. The government has already come under fire from the industrial sector over plans to force large businesses to instal solar panels, and now the vehicle industry has rounded on the government on the grounds that any kind of outright ban on the sale of diesel and petrol fuelled vehicles would be illegal under European Union law.
The government unveiled its climate change policy last week, but it has been met with mounting criticism from the business, tourism, consumer and retail sectors.
The Balearic Islands depend on a coal plant for nearly half of the electricity supply and get only 2% from renewable sources. The government wants to change this, making the region a beacon for sustainability and it knows that it is going to have to be careful.
The government has opted for photovoltaic solar power as the renewable alternative to coal. This, however, has been coming up against objections. Plans for large photovoltaic plants have been criticised because of their visual and environmental impact. Among those objecting are environmentalist groups. Other sources of renewables, wind being the most obvious, have been ruled out by the government.
The region is on a collision course with Madrid, where the energy ministry has rejected a key element of the plan: closure of the Es Murterar coal power station by 2025. Now the government has a battle on various fronts to fight, but it maintains that it is not acting illegally and that it has looked to countries like Denmark, Norway, Holland, the UK and Germany for ways of combating climate change.
According to Balearic government sources, these countries have already introduced similar long-term restrictions on non-electric powered vehicles and sees no reason why the Balearics cannot follow suit. The policy has been praised by a number of other regions in Spain which have been considering going down a similar route.
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