The Sierra Bermeja fire revealed that the fires are already more “virulent”, linked to climate change and difficult to control.

Aerial view of the fire in Sierra Bermeja, in Malaga.

Scientists have been warning for decades that climate change would strike more frequent and virulent phenomena, and 2021 was the year that those alarms have become patent with historical storms, sixth generation fires and the increase of periods of extreme temperatures.

The Mediterranean basin, and especially Spain, is one of the zero zones of the climate emergency. It was found, among other situations, with the passage of the historical storm Filomena, the most intense storm in the last 50 years in our country, which buried an area of ​​about 256,000 square kilometers under the snow.

However, this catastrophe was not the only one: sixth generation fires, with the ability to alter weather conditions, have also been present, such as Sierra Bermeja (Malaga), with 10,000 burned hectares, which showed that fires evolve into “virulent” phenomena, linked to climate change, difficult to extinguish and to control.

Throughout this year they have also registered 20 great wildfires (GIF) Among which stands out that of Navalacruz (Ávila), the fourth most important in the history of Spain since there are records, and which left more than 22,000 hectares burned.

Another adverse phenomenon caused by the climatic emergency, increasingly settling, is the increase in summer days: almost 5 weeks more than at the beginning of the 80s, with one month of August in 2021 with the highest temperature records ever recorded to date in points of the Spanish geography.

Nor can we forget in 2021 the effects caused by the big damage or cold drops in the south and east of the peninsula that suggest, as explained by the Meteorology Agency, that on days of more intense precipitation it now rains more than in past decades and that torrential rains are more so on the Mediterranean slope of the peninsula.

But neither Filomena nor the recent stormy episodes have managed to end. with the drought that Spain suffers: the current year drags a rainfall figure below normal, as a result of which the autumn is being drier, with a worrying situation in the hydrological basins.

Nowadays, the most deficient basins They are the Guadalquivir, officially declared in a drought situation -which forces to adopt temporary measures to increase resources-, and the Guadiana basin, the Guadalete-Barbate, the Segura and the Andalusian Mediterranean basin.

Immediate and ambitious measures

These climate warnings require immediate and ambitious action to protect people, climate and nature, which has led Spain to approve the first Climate Change Law this year of its history that proposes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23% -over 1990- by 2030.

And for this climate law to continue its development, in 2021 they have started Citizen Assemblies for Climate, where citizens representing the diversity of the country, and supported by experts in the field, provide non-binding recommendations in the face of the climate emergency.

At the level of biodiversity, the degradation of the Mar Menor It was once again one of the most outstanding issues of the year with the appearance last August of tons of fish and crustaceans dead due to lack of oxygen, a situation that is repeated over time and that this time even surpassed the catastrophe of 2019.

The Government has presented to regenerate this salty lagoon, the largest in Europe, a Framework of Priority Actions with actions in the short and medium term to reduce the pollutant load, tackle irregular irrigation and re-naturalize the basin through green solutions.

It has also had a special echo the inclusion of the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus) in the List of Species under Special Protection Regime, a measure that has been strongly criticized by Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León and Galicia for understanding that it will hinder the sustainable management of the territory, will lead to the abandonment of livestock activity and will exacerbate rural depopulation.

2021 has also been the year associated with the European Recovery Funds, a green investment that, of the total of 70,000 million that it will mobilize, 40.29% will contribute to the objectives of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, as well as to reach climate neutrality before 2050.

The elaboration of Health and Environment Strategic Plan To promote healthy environments that help to achieve the population’s health objectives and reduce the risks derived from environmental factors and their conditioning factors, it will reduce the burden of diseases and identify new threats.