Spain is party to a large numb…
Spain is party to a large number of environmental agreements that have been ratified by the EU. Despite passing legislation for a wide range of environmental policies, its success in implementation remains weak. It faces important challenges concerning marine life, climate change and regional air pollution. Its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased by 49% during 1990–2004, one of the highest rates among the signatories of the Kyoto Protocol.
In 2009, the country released around 359 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and its marine environment performance also remained unsatisfactory. The government of Spain has made little use of environmental taxes or other instruments that may have resulted in better implementation of environmental laws. Many municipal governments do not charge for services such as water and sewerage. Many industrialized nations meet their financial needs by using the ‘polluter pays’ principle. The principle has been introduced in the new climate change strategy, but the desired results are yet to be achieved.EU membership has given the country an opportunity to undertake measures to meet the environmental and technological standards of its EU peers. The country’s performance on environmental indicators, despite lagging behind other EU nations, has shown improvement.
PESTLEPoliticalSpain has ratified a number of international environmental treaties and has been at the forefront among the EU nations, as far as the implementation of the environmental agenda goes. Its basic environmental policy adheres to the EU norms. The strategy on sustainable development and on climate change has been approved to reduce GHG emissions by developing a technical construction code and a bonus system to enhance the purchase of energy efficient vehicles. According to the climate strategy of the Spanish government, it plans to achieve this target by cutting its GHG emissions to 37% above 1990 levels by 2008–12. It will then achieve the balance by buying carbon credits from clean energy projects in other countries. Furthermore, the government is planning to use carbon sinks, such as reforestation projects.EconomicalThe government of Spain has resorted to subsidies and financial assistance to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
The government has made little use of environmental taxes or other instruments, which will result in better implementation. Many municipal governments do not charge for services like water and sewerage. A high proportion of industrialized nations meet their financial needs by using the ‘polluter pays’ principle. The principle was introduced in the new climate change strategy but the desired results are yet to be achieved. Because of lack of implementation, the government has been devoid of funds that may have been used for bringing improvements in the environment.SocialThe age structure shows that 67.4% of the population belongs to the broad 15–64 age group, 14.
5% of the population is in the 0–14 age group and 18.1% of the population is aged above 65 years. With this age structure, Spain reflects a similar demographic trend to that seen across the rest of Europe. There is an increase in the number of the elderly population and fewer people are entering the workforce. The gender ratio at birth is 1.07 males per female. Life expectancy for the total population is 80.
05 years. For the male population it is 76.74 years and for the female population it is 83.57 years. In addition, Spain has a literacy rate of 97.9% for the total population. While the male literacy rate is at 98.
7%, the female literacy rate is slightly lower at 97.2%. TechnologicalSpain has been slow to adopt technological advancements compared to the other EU countries, although policy measures have been undertaken in this regard. Spain ranks 16th on the European innovation index in a list of 27 nations. Although it performs well in terms of knowledge creation, the innovation climate is not particularly productive. The situation has arisen because of the larger role of the public sector with respect to R;D. The private sector has limited participation in enhancing R;D levels.
EnvironmentIn the policy-making process, the environment emerged as an important topic after Spain became a member of the EU. The national and regional government is responsible for the legislation and implementation of environmental directives. After the continued efforts of the government coupled with participation from the private sector, the country has met with only partial success in improving its environmental conditions. The new strategy for sustainable development is intended to speed up the process of meeting the country’s Kyoto Protocol targets, which require it to limit its emissions by a maximum of 15% during 2008–12, compared with 1990 levels. In the absence of more stringent measures and the current level of high emissions, the government may fail to achieve the target.LegalDoing business in Spain is comparable to any other country in the EU as foreign investment restrictions and exchange controls have been abolished to a great extent, in line with the EU legislation on deregulation. A foreign investor can invest in Spain by opening a branch or representative office, or by forming a Spanish company.
Traditionally, corporations were the most common form of corporate entities but limited liability companies are also becoming common. Foreign investors can also enter the country by entering into a joint venture partnership with Spanish firms.