Spanish minister wants fossil fuel companies to help vulnerable countries

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polluter pays principle

MADRID – Spain will take a central position at the COP28 UN climate summit in Dubai, with Spanish environment minister Teresa Ribera, as co-leader of the EU delegation, playing a key role in the bloc’s negotiations and advocates for polluter pays principle.

Ribera had a challenging proposal for the fossil fuel industry. She proposed companies in this sector voluntarily dedicate part of their profits to the sustainable development of most vulnerable countries. This suggestion is in line with the polluter pays principle. The proposal comes as a response to the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis.

Financing for vulnerable countries

Teresa Ribera also emphasised the need for mandatory green taxes on fossil fuels and other companies with high CO2 emissions. She also proposed possible taxes on shipping and frequent air travellers. These measures could generate funds for poor countries most affected by climate change.


While this idea is widely supported by EU member states, Ribera admitted that creating these new sources of financing is still a major challenge and faces resistance. The discussion about this new approach to climate finance was a central theme in the discussions during the climate summit in Dubai.

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A new economy

Ribera emphasised the importance of rethinking the way we understand production and consumption. Every financial or economic decision by governments and companies must take into account the impact of the climate crisis. The minister therefore advocated “a new climate-proof economy” in which climate aspects are taken into account in every decision.

Phasing out fossil fuels

The Spanish minister once again stressed the importance of a clear path for first reducing and then phasing out fossil fuels. This should be done in a way that is consistent with climate objectives, energy security, security of energy supply, and the effective use of resources.

Aid from rich to poor countries

Rich countries should do more to help poor countries adapt to the impact of extreme weather, according to Ribera. Currently, only a small portion of climate finance provided by the rich world to developing countries is dedicated to adaptation.

Also read: ‘Andalucian Green Hydrogen Valley’: New jobs and clean energy

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