Climate Change Strategy - KLIMA 2050, deployment of regional policies at local level
City/Region : Basque Government , Spain

In order to reconcile the adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development of the Basque Territory, the Basque Government developed The Climate Change Strategy of the Basque Country - KLIMA 2050, with a long-term horizon and two main objectives:

  • To reduce GHG emissions in the Basque Country by at least 40% by 2030 and by at least 80% by 2050 with respect to 2005, including 40% renewable energy consumption 2050.
  • To ensure the resilience of the Basque territory to climate change.

9 Goals and a total of 24 Lines of Action have been defined to achieve the mitigation, adaptation and renewable energy.

Agendas addressed
Climate change
Pathways followed
  • Capitalise on local economy and production
  • Implement sustainable procurement principles

The Basque Country is a region with a population of 2,172,877 inhabitants and a land area of 7,234 km2. The key economic sectors are energy, aeronautics and machinery. It has GHG emissions of 19 MMt/year (2014), GHG emissions/capita/year of 8.8 and a current renewable electricity/energy capacity (MW) of 14 % of consumption.

The Basque Government has been working in the area of climate change since 2002 through the Basque Environmental Development Sustainable Strategy, and its commitments were established first in the Basque Plan for Climate Change 2008-2012 and currently in the Basque Climate Change Strategy - KLIMA 2050.

KLIMA 2050:

  • lays out the Basque region’s transition to a low carbon and resilient territory;
  • combines multiple timelines and scales:  the transformation path for 2020;
  • promotes multi-level cooperation and governance in climate change mitigation and adaptation; and
  • improves effectiveness in addressing climate change mitigation and regional and local adaptation.
In Action

The Climate Change Strategy KLIMA 2050 has been defined as an umbrella and benchmark for the other sectors and policies of the Government that have an impact on climate change. This strategy is the result of input from all the ministries of the Basque Country, the different Basque authorities (regional, provincial and municipal) and many different stakeholders: it represents a true example of networking with an integrated approach to the fight against climate change.

Due to the horizontal nature of climate change, the coordination of strategies and actions requires the participation of a high number of stakeholders working effectively:

The Basque Government’s Ministry of the Environment and Territorial Policy leads the coordination of the Climate Change Strategy with support from the Ministries of Economic Development and Competitiveness (Industry Office) and of the Treasury and Finances (Economy and Budget Office). It is likewise tasked with deploying the technical work to analyse, diagnose, plan and assess the environmental policy designed in the Strategy.

In addition, it will foster an inter-institutional coordination mechanism between the different authorities of the Basque Autonomous Community to implement and monitor the actions in the Strategy.

Deployment at the local level is implemented through the Basque Network of Municipalities for Sustainability – Udalsarea 21.

It is the cooperation and coordination forum between different institutions who are working for sustainable development at the local level and it drives, coordinates and assesses climate change measures. The municipalities are implementing very important measures with regard to climate change, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation, and which are set out in the plans of action of Local Agenda 21 or in specific climate change plans such as those found in Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Donostia-San Sebastián.

This project combines top-down and bottom-up activities and defines mitigation and adaptation actions to be implemented at the local level with the necessary mainstreaming at the regional level. The project intends to transform society within the local and regional context as follows:

  • It seeks the transformation towards a low-carbon society. In keeping with the KLIMA 2050 strategy, the Basque Government has developed the Energy Strategy 2030, which sets out the actions to achieve the emission reductions and efficiency targets.
  • It gives impetus to the exemplary and coordinated action of the administration. Therefore, the Basque Government has enacted the Energy Sustainability Decree that sets the target of 25% energy savings by 2025 in the Basque administration.

The main outputs of the present project will be the sound and secure deployment of the Strategy in its mitigation and adaptation dimensions. This will be realised through the contributions of local actions and the experiences gained thanks to the local case studies.

 The main expected results at regional level are (with a long-term horizon of 2050):

  • GHG emissions reduction in the Basque Country by at least 40% by 2030 and by at least 80% by 2050, with respect to 2005, including 40% renewable energy consumption by 2050.
  • To ensure the resilience of the Basque territory to climate change

In order to achieve these main results related to the mitigation and adaptation, 9 Goals and a total of 24 Lines of Action have been defined. Therefore, the expected outputs of this project are to achieve the defined goals, which will be possible through the implementation of specific actions.

At local scale, the expected outputs are related to the mechanism to deploy several local actions which will serve as a starting point to establish the roadmap. A local actions roadmap or paths to transformation will be defined, which will help to achieve the main 2 objectives of the aforementioned strategy (to reduce GHG emission and to ensure resilience).

The 3 local case studies will help to tackle the main objectives of the Strategy and the results will be used to promote climate resilience in the rest of Basque municipalities.


Based on the scenarios and the cost of the measures established in the Strategy, the economic impacts and the main associated additional (co-)benefits have been analyzed in the first implementation period (2015-2020). Specifically, the savings in energy costs and the improvement to public health arising from cutting atmospheric pollutants have been considered. An integrated environmental energy-economic model for the Basque Country (prepared by the Basque Centre for Climate Change BC3) and the methodologies for pollution damages used by the European Commission were used for this purpose.

These measures would generate €57 million of economic activity in the Basque Country, creating 1,030 total  jobs each year over 5 years.

Energy costs could be cut by up to €55 million per year (mainly those associated with importing fossil fuels), which would help to improve the competitiveness of the companies and would increase spending power of the families.

Emissions of air pollutants, linked to cutting CO2, would also be reduced. A 9.6% reduction of CO2 emissions between 2015 and 2020 would result in a 10-17% reduction of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), along with a 27% reduction of SO2 emissions and 15% of NOX emissions. Important financial benefits could also be obtained by improved health conditionals associated with reduced emissions(drop of mortality and associated diseases, along with the health spending arising from medical treatments and the cost of time off work).

According to the results obtained, it is estimated that the reduction in costs related to health would be between €12 and 32 million per year, a similar order of magnitude to those obtained with similar studies and published by the World Health Organization.

Challenges and lessons learned

This project combines the Vision of the Basque Country until 2050 and a transformation path to be implemented up to 2020. The local actions roadmap will help to achieve the main 2 objectives: to reduce GHG emission and to ensure resilience. In addition to the above, the Strategy combines regional and local scales.

The GHG emissions reduction targets will be accompanied by converting the sectors towards more efficient energy consumption and a share of renewable energies in the final energy consumption of at least 40% (target for 2050). Moreover, this Strategy seeks to ensure the resilience of the Basque territory.



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