Sources of Law in the EU Member States

Ley 7/2021, de 20 de mayo, de cambio climático y transición energética (3/2021)


Osservatorio sulle fonti / Observatory on Sources of Law


Section: Sources of Law in the EU member States

SPAIN– 2021

By Ana Carmona Contreras, University of Seville

Name of the Act/s

Ley 7/2021, de 20 de mayo, de cambio climático y transición energética

Date of entry into force of original text

May, 22

Date of Text (Adopted)

May, 20

Type of text

Law /Ley

If federal State

 Federal level

□ State level (specify the State)

If Regional State

x State level

□ Regional level (specify the Region/Comunidad Autonoma)

Enacted by

Government/Congress of Deputies

Reference to the Constitution (art)

Article 149.1: The State shall have exclusive competence over the following matters:

-        13: basic rules and coordination of general economic planning;

-        15: promotion and general coordination of scientific and technical research;

-        18: basic legislation on administrative contracts and concessions;

-        20: merchant marine, ports of general interest, airspace control, traffic and air transport;

-        21: land transport, traffic and circulation of motor vehicles;

-        22: hydraulic resources and uses, and authorization of electrical installations;

-        23: basic legislation on environmental protection, without prejudice to powers of the Selfgoverning Communities to take additional protective measures; basic legislation on woodlands, forestry and cattle trails;

-        24: public works of general benefit or whose execution affects more than one Selfgoverning Community.

-        25: bases of the mining and energy regime.

-        30: conditions for obtaining, issuing and homologating academic and professional qualifications.

Subject area

If the act implements a source of EU Law: cite the relevant EU legal source

The law implements the Directive 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of May 30, 2018, which modifies Directive 2010/31 / EU on the energy efficiency of buildings and Directive 2012/27 / EU on energy efficiency. Likewise, the legal system enacted by the law arises from Regulation 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of December 11, 2018, on the governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action.


This law is the response to the commitment assumed by Spain in the international and European sphere in matters of climate change and energy transition. Through its provisions, the legislator establishes an institutional framework to achieve the progressive adaptation of reality to the demands that regulate climate action. Likewise, this framework will serve to guarantee the coordination of sectoral policies in order to achieve the objective of climate neutrality.

From this global perspective, the law establishes the emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2050, introducing in this regard the principle of non-regression. It is important to highlight the all-encompassing vocation that this principle presents, which projects its effects both at the normative and administrative level and in the field of jurisdictional practice. In a substantial way, its application prevents reductions or setbacks (quantitative or qualitative) in the levels of environmental protection existing at all times. Restrictions at these levels are only allowed when fully justified situations based on public interest reasons and provided that a weighing judgment has been previously made between the different legal interests at stake.

Likewise, the law incorporates into the Spanish legal system the two main climate and energy governance tools established in Regulation 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of December 11, 2018, on the governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action: the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plans and the 2050 Decarbonization Strategy of the Economy. In relation to the Integrated National Plans, their regulatory elements are foreseen, and the sectoral and political objectives must be determined, as well as the measures to be adopted to achieve them in the reference sectors.

Another important block of forecasts is the one relating to the establishment of adaptation measures in the face of the impacts of climate change. In this sense, the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change is configured as the basic planning instrument to promote coordinated and coherent action against the effects derived from said change. The National Plan must define the objectives, criteria, areas of application and actions to promote resilience and adaptation.

The awareness of the need to improve the capacity of the State to face the opportunities and challenges of the ecological transition and decarbonization is specified in the creation of another action mechanism: the Just Transition Strategy. This is defined in the law as a state-wide instrument aimed at optimizing opportunities in the activity and employment of the transition to an economy low in greenhouse gas emissions. Under the regulatory umbrella of the Strategy are the Just Transition Agreements, which are shown as key instruments to materialize the specific actions to be carried out.

The plans, programs, strategies, instruments and provisions of a general nature that are adopted in the fight against climate change and the energy transition towards a low-carbon economy will be carried out under open formulas that guarantee the participation of social and economic agents. stakeholders and the public.

Secondary sources/ doctrinal works (if any)

Available Text

Osservatorio sulle fonti

Rivista telematica registrata presso il Tribunale di Firenze (decreto n. 5626 del 24 dicembre 2007). ISSN 2038-5633.

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© 2017 Registrazione presso il Tribunale di Firenze n. 5626 del 24 dicembre 2007 - ISSN 2038-5633