Madrid’s Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality by 2050

A path of vision, political commitment, and technical work

Much of the world recognized the urgency of climate change when it joined the Paris Agreement. Spain was one of these countries, ratifying the Agreement in 2017 and acknowledging the need for action.

In 2020, following Spain and Madrid’s official declaration of a climate emergency in 2019, the City Council of Madrid developed “Madrid’s Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality by 2050” that established even more progressive targets for reaching carbon neutrality and the steps to accomplish them. The Roadmap is the necessary link between different municipality and government climate change policies and provides an exciting path into a more progressive future.

What Exactly is the Roadmap?

Madrid’s Roadmap is a new compromise that outlines the emission reduction path to be followed until 2050, with a newly established intermediate reference for 2030 and a more ambitious objective than that envisaged by the European Union.

The Roadmap  aligns municipal policies with European and national policies to create a more cohesive climate plan. And it raises the level of commitment required for those cities that want to be at the forefront of this global movement.What are the Objectives?

A 65% cut in emissions from 1990 to 2030 is proposed in the Roadmap. It also provides information on the sectors and levers with the greatest potential for reducing emissions, identifying those transformative actions of municipal plans that accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon model.As can be seen in the graph above from the Roadmap, the timeframe between 2020 and 2030 is especially important for reaching emissions goals. This is an essential period to focus on innovations and policies. Achieving the 2030 EU emissions goals through either the “Sustainable” or more ambitious “Extended” emissions scenarios will be determined by the depth and breadth of the implementation of those innovations and policies. Finally, in addition to focusing on emissions, the Roadmap aims to improve security, resiliency and quality of life for everyone in Madrid facing climate change.

The Next Steps Down the Roadmap

The Roadmap is a living document and continues to be developed as community input grows. It is soon going to be adjusted to further address the social as well as technical components of climate change. The current Roadmap also provides a framework and suggestions for projects to address emissions and climate change in Madrid. These suggestions, processes and general collaborative climate approach must be introduced to the private sector in order to move forward together and reach emissions goals. If you want to learn more, feel free to read the Roadmap or reach out to the Madrid City Council.Working session among the staff managing the public-private platformThe technical advantage of having different sectors’ Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions information in one document is tremendous. Finally, the Roadmap also aims to improve security, resiliency and quality of life for everyone in Madrid facing climate change.Written by Espy Thompson

Espy is a recent graduate of Smith College, where she majored in environmental science and policy. Before that, she studied at Colorado College, with a focus on environmental communication and design. Espy has worked in a variety of organizations in the environmental world, including clean energy startups, environmental health nonprofits and local city government. She just started a job as the Human-Centered Design Fellow for Dartmouth College, where she hopes to use the powers of higher education and design to address climate change issues. Espy is passionate about writing, design, and creating collaborative spaces to help facilitate climate change action.

In 2020, Espy was selected as one of Smith College’s Design Immersion Fellows to work alongside itdUPM. While COVID-19 unfortunately put a halt to the summer 2020 internship and turned the postponed summer 2021 internship into a remote experience, Espy was still able to collaborate with and learn from itdUPM. This post is the result of the identified need to translate and simplify Madrid’s carbon neutrality plan for an English-speaking audience.