Portugal moves back into the group of relatively high-performing countries, climbing eight places from last year’s CCPI, and is ranked 17th in CCPI 2021.
Portugal was able to significantly improve its rating from very low to medium in the GHG Emissions category. With last year’s emissions rating strongly impacted by massive forest fires and drought in 2017, this year’s shows strong improvement. Per capita emissions (excluding LULUCF), however, as well as per capita energy use, are still growing, while the share of renewable energy in energy use is only slightly increasing. This has led to low and very low ratings in the respective trend (2013–2018) indicators. Portugal rates medium in the Renewable Energy and Energy Use categories, with a high rating for Climate Policy. The country performs relatively well in current levels of the share of renewable energy in energy use (22%) and per capita energy use.
This varied picture is also reflected in experts’ medium rating for Portugal’s national climate policy and its implementation. A national climate law, including a proposal to end fossil fuel subsidies, as well as a 55% 2030 reduction target, is currently under discussion and expected to be voted on during early 2021. Experts also point to successful green fiscal measures in the fields of renewable energy and transport, to energy efficiency policies in the industry sector, and to new legislation in the forestry sector. They do, however, see room for improvement in energy efficiency and the implementation of decentralised solar energy, especially in the residential sector. The carbon tax is also evaluated as ineffective. In view of the COVID-19-induced economic crisis, experts also criticise the lack of green conditionality in airline bailouts. At the international level, Portugal scores very high in experts’ assessments, which classifies the country as a front-runner in international negotiations, thanks to its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050.
The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Laura Carvalho (Quercus), Francisco Ferreira & Pedro Nunes (ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável).