Spain Announces Major Energy Saving Plans
This is one of those stories that sounds almost too radical to be true. We've already noted that bringing back the 55 mph speed limit could do a lot to reduce gas consumption and cut CO2 emissions, but usually when the idea is discussed we hear from numerous commenters that it would be political suicide. Spain's government might not agree, as it has apparently just announced a raft of incredibly ambitious measures to help tackle global warming, including cutting the speed limit to 50mph, but that's just the beginning. According to The Guardian, other actions to be undertaken between now and 2014 include handing out 49 million low energy light bulbs, limiting AC use in public buildings to 26C (79F) and introducing a pilot program for the manufacture of 1m electric or hybrid cars! (Of course Spain is already a powerhouse for solar energy projects.) It seems the Spaniards are going to be busy.
One item I am a little confused about, from the Guardian report, is a statement that "Spaniards will be allowed to turn the heating no higher than 21C (70F)" - I am assuming this refers to public buildings in the same way as the regulations regarding AC use — the idea of police tracking down illicit heating parties that reach 22C or above just seems a little too dystopian for my liking.
Another move that is worthy of note is the announcement that airlines will be able to shorten routes by cutting through military airspace — apparently this comes hot on the heels of flight cancellations to Spain by Ryanair and Easyjet in response to high fuel costs.
While there will no doubt be backlash from some quarters regarding the breadth and extent of these moves, I must say this looks an awful lot like what I've been waiting for — a national government that is taking oil depletion and global warming as the grave threats they really are.
::The Guardian::via site visit::