The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency, Raül Romeva, and Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull, presided over the presentation of the Third Report on Climate Change in Catalonia (TRCCC), which took place on Monday afternoon at the Palau de la Generalitat auditorium. Also in attendance were, the President of the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC), Joandomènec Ros, the Director of the Research and Knowledge Area of the 'La Caixa' Banking Foundation, Jordi Portabella, the Director of the Advisory Council for Sustainable Development (CADS), Arnau Queralt, and the scientific coordinator for the report and Physical Geography Professor at the University of Barcelona, Dr Javier Martin Vide.
In their address, the two ministers made special mention of the individuals and organisations whose efforts have been instrumental in the publishing of the TRCCC report. Minister Raül Romeva stressed that the presentation “marks the start of the process of disseminating all the information collected and creating new policies that will lead us towards a new national model”. “The changes identified in the report have the potential to significantly affect our lives and, in particular, the lives of future generations. We must continue to pay attention and listen to the messages being communicated by the Catalan scientific community”, he added.
Minister Josep Rull highlighted the fact that “the Climate Change Act is currently under Parliamentary consideration. This cannot be a law specific to any particular government, but a national law, that, regardless of the party in power, must continue to be developed to its full potential”. He also noted that the Catalan Executive is already working with “the mindset of a State”. However, as the report concedes, “Catalonia is lacking in tools. We need more instruments in order to make better decisions about the challenges we are facing”. The Minister also stated that, “in line with the EU, Catalonia has set clear targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions: with a reduction of 25% compared to 2005 needed by 2020, and a 40% cut by 2030”.
IEC president and author of one of the chapters in the report, Joandomènec Ros, pointed out that “for the first time ever, this report includes recommendations […] which are vital for us as a country’. CADS director, Arnau Queralt, emphasised the importance of the study, saying, “The report we are presenting today is not only of importance with regard to the here and now but also to the future of our country”. In the concluding remarks, the scientific coordinator for the report, Javier Martin Vide, expressed that the report positions Catalonia as a “key European region in terms of knowledge on climate change”.
The TRCCC constitutes a comprehensive compilation of scientific research on the current situation with regard to this issue in Catalonia and is the result of the participation of 140 authors and 40 reviewers from the country's leading universities and research centres. Thus, the TRCCC aims to facilitate the transfer of accurate knowledge based on strong scientific foundations to those with decision-making responsibilities.
With a clear commitment to public service and an independent, scientific stance, the document describes the principle indicators of climate change in Catalonia and formulates strategic recommendations, devised by the authors of the various chapters, towards mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting natural and human systems to the effects of climate change.
The TRCCC was spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency, (through the Advisory Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia), the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability (through the Catalan Office for Climate Change and the Meteorological Service of Catalonia) and the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC). The publication of this report is supported by the Obra Social 'La Caixa' Foundation.
Climate change evolution and its implications for Catalonia
According to the TRCCC report, temperatures in Catalonia are expected to rise by 0.8°C this decade, with an increase of 1.4°C by 2050 (compared to the average for the 1971-2000 period), and the region faces a potential decrease in precipitation by the mid-21st century.
Moreover, all climate scenarios point to more extreme temperature conditions, more frequent heatwaves and tropical nights (especially in the littoral and pre-littoral areas), an increase in the number of hot days and nights and longer periods of dry weather. There is also evidence that suggests an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme rain storms.
Concern also exists with regard to the potential for exceeding the resilience, function and structure thresholds of our ecosystems, thereby affecting the services they provide, which are essential to the functioning of the Catalan economy and society.
The people of Catalonia could also suffer the effects of climate change on a daily basis, with rising temperatures leading to deterioration in air quality, among other impacts. The report also predicts significant impacts for coastal areas (affecting, among other extents, tourism, port infrastructure and urban activity), going on to highlight the rise in air temperature, together with the progressive drop in and irregularity of precipitation as factors for concern that will have a direct impact on the Catalan food and agriculture system.
The document constitutes an excellent point of reference with regard to the regionalisation of the global warming analyses and projections performed on a global and European scale by organisations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the European Environment Agency. Catalonia has played a pioneering role in this regionalisation effort, spearheading the First Report on Climate Change in Catalonia in 2005 (the second edition of which was published in 2010).
The TICCC report is available on the CADS website