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Government relying on 'public policy and private investment' to be carbon neutral by 2050

solarroadPortugal’s government has reaffirmed its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Minister of the Environment and Energy Transition, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, and the deputy Economy Minister, Pedro Siza Vieira were at presentation on the 'Route to Carbon Neutrality 2050' and fully back proposals to hasten the shift from hydrocarbons to renewables, the increase in solar energy production, a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases by industry and waste reduction.

The 2050 roadmap shows that the next decade will be decisive for Portugal, with more sectors of the economy using electricity produced from renewable energy sources. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% to 99% compared to the 2005 level.

The government intends that, by 2030, 80% of the energy produced in Portugal will come from renewable sources, reaching 100% progressively twenty years later. The most significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is expected to occur between 2020 and 2023.

During his speech, Fernandes recalled the three main axes of government action that are contributing to carbon neutrality: enhancing the value of the territory, the circular economy and the decarbonisation of society.

"For Portugal, being carbon neutral by 2050 means reducing CO2 emissions from 68 to 12 megatonnes" and "increasing our country's sequestering capacity from 9 to 12," he expounded, well aware that he will be far from ministerial power by 2050 yet keen to leave his successor some stiff targets.

Regarding forests, Fernandes said that it is important to, "slightly increase the country's forest area, reducing the average area burned per year by about 40%."

As regards agriculture, 'horticultural orchards' and 'precision agriculture' areas should be increased, including increased irrigation and reduced use of fertilisers.

The Minister said that, according to the road map, "in 2030, 80% of the electricity produced in Portugal will come from renewable sources and, by 2050, 100%.”

"Our energy dependence from imports currently is 75%. In 2030 it will be 65% and in 2050 17%," said the minister, adding that "the use of oil, which now exceeds 65 million barrels per year, will not exceed 10 million barrels in 2050," a year where it “will no longer be used for land transport.”

Matos Fernandes, resolutely pro-oil and gas when it comes to facilitating concession holders exploiting Portugal's 'hidden reserves,'  also stated that, "the annual savings from lower fuel imports will reach €4 billion per year, representing an accumulated value of €128 billion between 2020 and 2050, with the consequent impact on the balance of trade.”

In the case of mobility, the Minister said that "the price reduction that will result from the mass adoption of electric cars means that, over the next decade, it will no longer be cost effective to buy a diesel car and, in the next decade, a petrol one.”

The Deputy Minister of the Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, said that "carbon neutrality is a challenge for the world" and that in Portugal, “Tropical storms have become routine and we are living with fires of intensity and magnitude unimaginable ten or 20 years ago."

Pedro Siza Vieira said that the roadmap is “a guide to public policy and private investment decisions.”

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+1 #2 TT 2018-12-05 19:37
With no tax incentives on new electric vehicles and charging points scarcer than honest politicians, their uptake is going to be painfully slow.
0 #1 Peter Booker 2018-12-05 19:08
I read of roadmaps when these people mean plans. Such a simple word.

When I read of the efforts made by Portugal in comparison with China (for example in signing deals with China; and comparing CO2 emissions in China with those in Portugal), I am reminded of a flea and a dog. The population of Portugal is less than half of that of Shanghai.

And while it behoves us all to attempt to reduce carbon emissions, the plans here in Portugal are but a drop in the global ocean.