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Climate change

Portugal's carbon trading scheme is set forth in Decree-Law 38/2013 (as amended), enacting Directive 2004/101/EC, amending Directive 2003/87/EC and establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the European Community (the Amended Emissions Trading Directive).

Operators subject to this legal regime must hold a permit allowing them to emit greenhouse gases (GHG). GHG emissions must be monitored and certified annually and this information sent to the APA. The permit is annexed to the environmental licence of the operator issued under the Industrial Emissions Regime. The auctioning of allowances is also foreseen and is carried out according to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme Auctioning Regulation (EU Regulation No. 1031/2010).

According to the Climate and Energy Package 2020 for the 2013 to 2020 period, Portugal must limit the increase of GHG emissions for the sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to 1 per cent in relation to 2005. For renewable energies in the raw final consumption of energy, a new goal of 31 per cent has been adopted, 10 per cent of which is allocated to transport. A general goal to reduce the consumption of primary energy to 25 per cent and a specific goal for the public administration of reduction to 30 per cent has also been adopted.

Portugal approved the Green Growth Commitment, imposing certain goals to be achieved in 2020 and 2030. For 2030, the main goals are the following:

  1. to reduce GHG emissions between 30 and 40 per cent (52.7 to 61.5 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e)) in relation to 2005;
  2. to increase the share of renewable energies in the final consumption of energy to 40 per cent; and
  3. to increase energy efficiency through a reduction of 30 per cent over the energy baseline in 2030 translated into an energetic intensity of 101 tep/MEUR GDP.

The Strategic Framework for the Climate Policy, approved in 2015, provides that Portugal must reduce its GHG emissions to values of -18 to -23 per cent in 2020 and to -30 to -40 per cent in 2030, compared with 2005 values, depending on the results of European negotiations.

Portugal has also created the National Action Plan for Renewable Energies, establishing the goals regarding the share of Portugal's energy supply from renewable sources for energy consumption in 2020, as well as the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency.

Regarding energy efficiency, Portugal has implemented an energy certification system for buildings (destined for housing or commercial purposes), with the purpose of improving the energy performance of buildings and making the obtainment of energy certificates mandatory.

Additionally, through the EU 2020 funding programme, Portugal approved an Operational Programme of Sustainability and Efficiency in the Use of Resources, that focuses, among other issues, on available funding in order to achieve the goal to increase energy efficiency in the housing sector and to reduce the annual estimated GHG emissions, limiting, for 2023, the value of GHG emissions to 80.640T CO2e.

The National Air Strategy was approved by Resolution of the Council of Minsters 46/2016, focusing on the improvement of air quality, by protecting human health, the quality of life for citizens and ensuring the preservation of the ecosystems. It imposes the following goals:

  1. compliance with the emissions and air quality goals in 2020;
  2. compliance with air-quality improvement targets in 2020;
  3. establishment of a plan to achieve the air-quality goals recommended by the World Health Organization in the long term; and
  4. cooperation with climate policy to ensure that the measures concerning air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions will benefit the air quality and climate change.

The Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted in December 2015, and entered into force on 1 November 2016. Its central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.52°C. The Paris Agreement also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. Portugal ratified the Paris Agreement on 30 September 2016.

More recently, in December 2018, the government presented the National Road Map for Low Carbon (RNBC 2050). This document aims to guarantee that Portugal reaches carbon neutrality in 2050.

To do so, the RNBC 2050 defined the areas that will play a key role, such as energy, transportation, waste, agriculture and forests, and circular economy, and some measures to achieve it, such as increasing the use of electrification of the economy to 65 per cent, solar energy production, the reduction of greenhouse gases from the industry in 70 per cent or from the production of urban solid waste in 25 per cent.

The RNBC 2050 also mentions that the next decade will be decisive for Portugal. As a result, and in line with this consideration, Portugal will have more economic sectors using electricity produced from renewal energy sources that will be key to reduce greenhouse gases between 85 per cent to 99 per cent in comparison to 2005.

In conclusion, by 2030, RNBC 2050 envisages that 80 per cent of the energy produced in Portugal will come from renewable sources, in order to progressively achieve 100 per cent 20 years later. The most significant reduction of greenhouse gases is expected to occur between 2020 and 2023.

The RNBC 2050 shall undergo a period of public consultation.