The European Commission refers Spain to the European Court of Justice for failing to meet EU directives on air quality (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The Commission has appealed to Spain and three other member countries to meet air-quality standards but so far Spain has exceeded levels of solid particles in the air, known as PM10, with emissions from car engines and factories. Dust from public works is also among the other sources of contamination. The Generalitat said that the situation has improved in 2009, and had been implementing a plan with 73 measures to decontaminate the air in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, although these have not yielded the desired results. This has meant that the Catalan government has decided to withdraw the ban on driving over 80 km/h on certain roads in the Barcelona area. The Commission notes that Spain, like Italy, Portugal and Cyprus have failed, so far, in dealing effectively with the excess emissions of (PM10) and therefore a recommendation by the Environment Commissioner, Janez Potočnik, to bring these states to the court was made. The maximum exposure limits for air quality are frequently broken in Spanish cities with over 100,000 inhabitants. In the case of Spain, and particularly in Catalunya, there are three areas that exceed the limits for PM10 particles: the Barcelona area, Baix Llobregat and Vallès-Penedès-Garraf. The Catalan government, in an attempt to reduce these emissions, had imposed a speed limit of 80 miles per hour on some roads. However, this measure has not been sufficiently effective, resulting in some experts, especially epidemiologists, calling for more intensified measures.
A virtual atlas has been designed to show the partial disappearance of Spanish forests in the next 50 years (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB) have designed a virtual atlas that provides information on the partial disappearances of forests in the Iberian Peninsula due to climate change. The project examines the current reality of the distribution of forests and estimates the expected development for the period between 2050 and 2080. Miquel Ninyerlo, one of the scientists involved in the project explained that the Pyrenean area can become a refuge for forests of a higher quality. The forecast was based on data from the national forest inventory in order to determine the space occupied by woods and to anticipate future scenarios. Scientists have calculated that the estimated carbon dioxide decrease will lead to an increase of 4.5º C in the average temperature, leading to species such as beech, white pine, chestnut or certain types of oaks suffering. Ninyerola says of their findings, "this is sobering and reminds us that we must be careful and undertake good forest management."
Mariona Carulla has been elected president of the Orfeó Català, defeating Enrech Enric in a historical election (read aricle in Castilian here, El País). In the first democratic elections to be held at the institution, Mariona Carulla, who had been working as interim president, defeated Enrech Enric with 579 votes to his 260. Of the 1,668 voting members, 920 voted. Carulla, was sworn in as president and will hold the post for four years in the first board of governors decided by vote since the disgraced ex-president Millet was forced to quit. Waiting patiently until 2am for the pronouncement, Carulla called for the "unity of all partners" and urged the start of what she called "the golden age of the institution." She also announced that she is to meet next week, business sponsors of the Orfeó Foundation to request that all "money is managed with rigor and maximum transparency" including in this all three of the administrations that make up the consortium, the Palau, the Generalitat, the Culture Ministry and the Ayuntamiento. Carulla previously had the role of vice president during the time of Fèlix Millet.