Portugal Portugal

Portugal remains in the group of high-performing countries in this year’s CCPI, climbing one rank to 16th.

Portugal receives only a low rating in the GHG Emissions category, whereas in the Renewable Energy and Climate Policy categories it rates a high, with a medium in Energy Use. Portugal reaches high ranks in the CCPI current level indicators and relatively low ranks in the trend indicators.

The country’s National Climate Policy indicator is rated medium. Following the EU climate law, Portugal must reach net zero emissions by 2050. The CCPI experts are critical in this regard, noting that overall carbon neutrality is not set out in sectoral policies or targets (e.g. agriculture and transport). They also demand concrete timelines for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. The experts additionally suggest Portugal should aim for carbon neutrality by 2040–2050.

The experts evaluate the share of renewable electricity as sufficient for the time being, though at the same time they appeal for new policies. This is because most policies for feed-in tariffs and state investments in renewable energy date back some time and are insufficient. For further expansion of renewable energy sources, the experts ask for prioritising of decentralised photovoltaics.

In the transport sector, a clear decarbonising path is required. The experts note missing disincentives for private car use and call for more investments in public transport. Nevertheless, there are financial incentives for buyers and owners of electric cars and bicycles. Furthermore, households receive support for increased energy efficiency for buildings, though such programmes’ accessibility and amount should be enhanced.

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI: Catarina Grilo (ANP|WWF), Laura Carvalho Quercus (ANCN), Francisco Ferreira & Pedro Nunes (ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage.
The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.
For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.