Winning Party in Spain’s Election Campaigned on a Green New Deal
The party that won the most votes in Spain's national election Sunday campaigned on a Green New Deal.
The country's Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) won the largest number of parliamentary seats, at 123, though it fell short of the 176 needed to form a government. It will likely form a coalition government with the anti-austerity Unidas Podemos and smaller regional parties, The Guardian reported. The center-right Popular Party (PP) had its worst election in history, securing only 66 seats, while the anti-immigrant, nationalist Vox won 24 seats, the first time a far-right party has won more than one seat in Spain's parliament since the country transitioned to democracy following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.
The PSOE gained control of Spain's government in June 2017 when it ousted the PP via a no-confidence vote following a corruption scandal. Party leader Pedro Sánchez called Sunday's election in February after his party was unable to pass a 2019 budget with only 84 seats. 75.8 percent of the electorate turned out to vote, nearly 10 percentage points more than the number who turned out for the last election two years ago, and Sánchez interpreted the turnout as a rebuke to the far-right policies of his opponents.
"We made it happen," he told supporters, The Guardian reported. "We've sent out the message that we don't want to regress or reverse. We want a country that looks forwards and advances."
One of the ways the PSOE hopes to move forward is on the environment. Sánchez endorsed the idea of a Green New Deal, called "El New Deal Verde" or "El Green New Deal de España" in Spain, in January, according to The Intercept.
His party introduced a climate bill before the election that includes the following goals:
- Reducing greenhouse emissions to 90 percent of 1990 levels by 2050
- Transitioning to renewable energy completely by the same date and getting 74 percent of energy from renewables by 2030
- Banning fracking
- Divesting from and ending government subsidies for fossil fuels
- Banning the registration and sale of gas-burning vehicles by 2040
"One of the main elements of her speeches that we fully share," Ribera told The Intercept, is that "we cannot have sectoral environmental and social agendas. Climate justice and the recognition of climate injustice is very important."
To this end, Ribera has worked with unions to help compensate coal miners as Spain closes its mines. The PSOE's manifesto calls for a nationwide mobilization to clean energy that seeks to engage unions, businesses, local communities and civil society and wants to use decarbonization as a chance to create jobs.
"We cannot get as big a transformation as we need without [a] big dose of just transition and solidarity policies. Otherwise there will be many people who are left behind," Ribera said.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias has already called Sánchez to congratulate him and offer to form a government, The New York Times reported.
Podemos also campaigned on a Green New Deal style mobilization. In an interview with Jacobin before Sunday's election, Podemos Member of Parliament MP Txema Guijarro called the party's "Green New Deal package" one of the two "touchstones" of its campaign. That package calls for the creation of public companies including a bank to transition Spain to 100 percent renewable energy in 20 years, as well as a public energy company.
Guijarro spoke of both the opportunities and necessity of acting on climate change:
[T]he necessity of confronting climate change is also an opportunity to create quality employment in a country where there is still a 14 percent unemployment rate. Both sets of measures we were talking about before imply a program of mass public employment, the likes of which have never really been seen in Spain before. We are talking about the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
And when it comes to climate change, we have no choice but to act now, particularly given where Spain is situated geographically. We are undergoing an accelerated process of desertification which the rest of Europe has not had to deal with.
In worst-case scenario projections, Spain's temperature could rise five degrees Celsius by 2100, The Intercept reported.
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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By Eoin Higgins
Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.
<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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