History

Get to know the CEAM

Mediterranean Center for Environmental Studies

History

On 15 May 1991, the Mediterranean Center for Environmental Studies Foundation was constituted in response to the agreement dated 12 November 1990 with the Valencian Regional Government (the Generalitat Valenciana). CEAM was created by the Generalitat Valenciana and BANCAJA, with the support of the Secretary of State for Universities and Research and by the European Commission (European Directorate General).

When CEAM was created, the interests of various administrations converged:

  • The European Commission: the need for further information to help prepare new directives to be applied throughout Europe by considering the unique aspects of the Mediterranean basin. The emerging problems identified in the Mediterranean basin were:
    1. High tropospheric ozone values and their effects on crops.
    2. The high nitrate atmospheric deposition rate in the region, including seawater.
    3. Systematic failure in weather forecasts in the Mediterranean basin, particularly in relation to torrential rain and floodwaters.
    4. The foreseeable impacts of climate change on the water cycle and drought, particularly loss of summer storms in those areas surrounding the Western Mediterranean basin.
  • The Spanish State was interested in actively participating in European research programmes, and in bringing to Spain scientific installations that were references in their fields of action.
  • The Valencian Community faced the problem of acid rain in Els Ports (Castellón, Spain), attributed to the Andorra (Teruel, Spain) Power Station, the recovery of areas affected by forest fires, the effect of pollutants on crops and the need for regionalised meteorological forecasts of intense rainfall in this region.

With the European EUPHORE (EUropean PHOto-REactor) Project, CEAM obtained one of the most important installations worldwide for the simulation and study of photochemical reactions in the atmosphere.

After more than 30 years of activity, the experience and knowledge acquired have allowed us to reach a prestigious national and international level in our field of action. CEAM has become an international reference centre in the Valencian Community and one of the most acknowledged centres in Spain and elsewhere in Europe in our activity areas.

The most outstanding results obtained in our consolidated R&D activities of strategic importance for the Valencian Community are provided below in detail:

  • Contribution to solve a conflict in the Els Ports municipal district (Castellón) caused by pollution from the Andorra Power Station (Teruel).
  • Participation in the Spanish delegation towards Kyoto and post-Kyoto Protocol negotiations.
  • Transfer of techniques and criteria to improve forest management in both fire prevention and forest restoration terms.
  • Support for continuous air quality monitoring (quality control and carrying out Air Quality Monitoring Networks (AQMN) measures).
  • Specific air quality studies in complex urban and industrial environments (e.g., the City of Valencia, the Alicante cement factory or the refinery area of Castellón).
  • Support to comply with regulations (climate zoning of the Valencian Community (VC), the Previozone Programme, etc.).
  • Collaboration with other organisations of the VC to improve air quality, especially for water treatment plants (EPSAR: the wastewater treatment and sanitation entity).
  • Direct counselling to the Spanish Climate Change Agency in the inventory of greenhouse gases, which enables privileged information and the capacity of influence on quantifying greenhouse gases being acquired.
  • Development of specific methodologies to evaluate the risk of floods and heat waves.
  • By means of the European Commission (EDG of Research and EDG of the Environment) and the European Parliament, the Millán theses on European hydrographical basins union and the need for their combined management were included in the documents that proposed amending the Water Directive Framework, which could contemplate more favourable regulations for the VC’s strategic interests.

Performing this activity has enabled us to have a direct influence on environmental themes in the European Commission and considerable international influence (as far as projects and legislation are concerned):

  • With CEAM’s pre-regulation research and its participation in EC counselling committees, considerable contribution has been made to European regulations on the ozone as it is specifically mentioned in the Directive (D.O.C.E. L 87/50 of 25.3.2004, notified under number C (2004) 764).
  • The Spanish parliament has acknowledged CEAM as a reference centre for the optimisation of air quality networks (Official State Gazette of the General Congress Parliament, 20/03/1998 – Issue no. 257).
  • Participation in 60 European projects
  • Participation in EC Committees, which has allowed the problems and opportunities identified as being relevant in the VC to be reflected in Europe regulations or in research framework programmes.
  • An international reference in techniques to restore burnt and desertified areas (we have been invited to present our restoration strategy in all the countries of the Mediterranean basin, Kuwait, China, the USA, Brazil, Chile and Colombia).

Since its creation in July 1991, and until he retired in February 2012, the Director of CEAM was Dr. Millán Millán Muñoz, who contributed with his former experience in internal EC counselling groups (since 1974). He participated in establishing the scientific priorities of the EC’s 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th EC Research Framework Programmes by incorporating priority issues for the Mediterranean region.

Since his retirement, until his death in January 2024, he continued to collaborate with the institution as Director Emeritus. En recuerdo del Dr. Millán Millán.