Ministry of Environment Spatial Planning & Energy, Portugal
Early in 2014 the Portuguese coastline was hit by the winter storm Hercules. The massive swell of giant waves left a trail of destruction behind, all the more significant as 85% of the GDP and 75% of the population in Portugal are concentrated on the coastline. To recover from damages and reduce future risks and enhance resilience in the Portuguese coastline a set of interventions representing millions of euros of investments had to be put in place.
Such extreme weather represent a glimpse of what science has been telling us is likely to become more frequent.
A strong international agreement is required to provide a clear signal that all countries are committed to the decarbonisation of their economies and to adopt low-carbon options that enhance resilience at the national and global levels.
Portugal has been one of the countries advocating for more ambitious action on climate mitigation and renewable energy and one of the countries in Europe that will suffer significantly from the impacts of climate change.
Portugal has both experience and results in the field of climate action, having been considered by the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI 2015), in 2013 and 2014, the 4th best performing country as regards climate action in a list of 58 countries that are responsible for more than 90% of GHG emissions. Also, in 2015 and according to the Bertelsmann Foundation of Sustainable Development Index, Portugal is in the Top 5 of the best performers in the fight against climate change, being 4th in CO2 emissions and energy sustainability, and the 5th in primary energy intensity and energy efficiency.
Portugal overachieved its 2012 Kyoto target. We have already reached 27% of renewable energy on final consumption and 60% of renewable energy on electricity supply. And we are ready to go further.
Our dependency on imported energy remains too high, even though it is at its lowest level (73.9%) of the last 20 years. We have reduced our carbon intensity by around 17% from 2005 to 2013. In 2015 Portugal ranked 10th place in the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index of the World Economic Forum.
Portugal has recently launched the Green Growth Commitment (GGC), an ambitious long term commitment that establishes goals and initiatives inter alia on green jobs, resource and energy efficiency and electric mobility. It also sets the target of reducing GHG emissions by 30 to 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 and to increase renewable energy share to 40% by 2030.
Fighting climate change at a global level requires a durable, dynamic and ambitious agreement. The importance of setting ambitious mitigation commitments as well as to have common transparency and accounting rules lies on the creation of trust amongst all Parties while providing a clear signal – to businesses, investors, and the public in general – of the global political commitment to the low-carbon transition.
The agreement should also address the financial gap and foster a global carbon market as a crucial instrument to deliver cost-effective emission reductions.
Portugal has recently concluded the review, update and consolidation of its climate policy framework for 2020-2030, a second generation of policy instruments supported by the Strategic Framework for Climate Policy (QEPiC), which includes the National Climate Change Programme (PNAC2020/2030) and the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (ENAAC 2020).
The Strategic Framework implements the vision and goals on climate change outlined in the GGC seeking to ensure a sustainable trajectory for reducing GHG consistent with a transition to a low-carbon economy.
The Green Taxation Reform (GTR) undertaken stimulates innovation and sustainable growth. Under the principle of fiscal neutrality, the net income of the GTR has been allocated to the reduction of personal income taxes. It includes among other measures a carbon tax, incentives to electric vehicles and sustainable mobility. It is a relevant step towards a paradigm shift in Portugal, fostering efficiency and eco-innovation, following the principle of “taxing more what you burn and less what you earn”.
Portugal remains committed to continue work supporting other more vulnerable partners as we continue with
bilateral support programmes focusing on African Portuguese speaking countries and Timor Leste, mostly part of the least developed countries (LDC) group.
These decisions are strongly relevant for a new climate agreement. The highest priority should be to push for ambitious mitigation commitments coming from all Parties in 2015, as well as ensuring a durable agreement that establishes a dynamic process to ensure commitments from ALL, at ALL times.
Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy
Rua de “O Século”, 51, 1200-433 Lisboa, PORTUGAL
TEL + 351 21 323 25 00