Portugal remains among the high-performing countries in this year’s CCPI, climbing two notches to 14th. The country improves its rating in the GHG Emissions category, now at a medium and rising 16 spots higher than a year ago. It also receives a medium in Energy Use, Renewable Energy, and Climate Policy.
New climate law and coal phase-out
Portugal enforced a climate law (Lei de Bases do Clima) in February 2022, which includes an enhancement of the 2030 target of reaching a 55% GHG emissions reduction compared with 2005 levels, and the possibility of reaching net zero by 2045 rather than 2050.
Moreover, the climate law encompasses the intent to have legislative measures and major public investments be strategically assessed for their contribution to meeting climate targets. While the CCPI experts welcome the climate law, they note that it lacks ambition in some parts, only ending fossil fuel subsidies in 2030. They also regard the law’s implementation and enforcement as being key for Portugal’s climate ambition.
An increase in renewable energy capacity is planned, with Portugal already having a relatively high share of renewable energy in energy use of 25.69% in 2020 (receiving a high for this indicator). However mainly centralised solar capacity is increased, though more decentralised solar is needed.
Portugal phased out coal with the Pego coal power plant, the last remaining such plant in Portugal, decommissioned in November 2021. The CCPI experts regard this phase-out as major improvement.
More climate policies are needed
However, while there are policies to increase investment in public transport, transport sector emissions continue to rise. The experts also criticise a lack of initiatives to support and expand sustainable agriculture, and a lack of effective forest fire prevention measures.
To become aligned with a well-below-2°C trajectory, Portugal must enhance its policies to decarbonise the power sector, and promote energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment. The country needs to halt the increase of intensive agriculture and monoculture, and protect forests, biodiversity, and fertile land.
- Francisco Ferreira & Pedro Nunes (ZERO – Association for the Earth Sustainability)
- Laura Carvalho (Quercus ANCN)