Today in Madrid the Gas Natural Foundation, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, organised the sixth edition of the International Seminar on Climate Change. The event saw a detailed presentation of the impact of climate change on water resources and coastal areas in Spain, and the effects of this problem on the agriculture, energy, insurance and tourism sectors were described.
Due to its geographical situation, Spain concentrates a greater negative impact arising from climate change than most other European countries. In these circumstances, Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri, the Ministry's Secretary General for Pollution Prevention and Climate Change, presented the main lines of the Spanish government's strategy for confronting climate change and mitigating its effects.
Another contributor was Teresa Ribera, Director of the Ministry's Office for Climate Change. Ms Ribera presented the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (PNACC), approved by Cabinet in October. Its aims are to adapt the planning and management of all social and economic sectors to the phenomenon, to provide support to all organisations interested in evaluating the impacts of climate change in their area of interest, and to comply with and develop all Spain's existing international commitments.
Water resources and coastal areas
Iñigo Losada, Professor in the Universidad de Cantabria's Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering Group, spoke about effects like rising sea levels, changing wave pattern conditions and tides and decreasing ice mass at high altitudes. He also presented a diagnosis of these effects for the different coastal areas of Spain, and put forward several proposals for action. Finally, he presented some mechanisms for adaptation and strategies that if followed could mitigate the effects of climate change on our water resources.
The impact of climate change on the agricultural sector was the focus of contributions by speakers from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid: Inés Mínguez, Professor of Plant Production, and Pilar Baeza, Lecturer in Viticulture at the University's School of Agricultural Technical Engineering. Both speakers addressed the effects of the increase in CO2, rising temperatures and changes in precipitation levels on the sowing dates and pest control in crops.
The tourism sector was represented by Águeda Esteban, Professor at the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, and by Enric Aulí, Director of 'Projectes Naturals', who spoke about the consequences of this problem not only for tourist sites but also for supply and demand in the sector, and presented some strategies ranging from building design to redefinition of the business to adapt it to the new factors.
María Teresa Piserra, head of the International Business Department of Mapfre Agropecuaria, next addressed the insurance of natural perils in Spain and the 'Agrosphere'. She reported that the Mediterranean coastline and Vizcaya are the areas with the highest incident rate for climatic risks and for concentration of crops sensitive to these changes.
Finally Antonio Llardén, President of the Asociación Española del Gas (Sedigas) (Spanish Gas Technical Association), focused his intervention on the impacts that climate change may have on the energy sector, and proposed adaptation measures to reduce its effects.
Rafael Villaseca, CEO of the Gas Natural Group, and Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri, General Secretary of the Ministry of Environment for Pollution Prevention and Climate Change, closed the seminar.