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Source: Small Island Developing States

20 September 2019: The Government of Portugal has become the 13th country to submit its long-term strategy for low-emission development (LTS) to the UNFCCC Secretariat, highlighting its intent to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Portugal’s LTS titled, ‘Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 (RCN2050): Long-term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality of the Portuguese Economy by 2050,’ elaborates a path to carbon neutrality, and identifies guidelines for policies and measures required to achieve this goal. It explains that carbon neutrality is economically and technologically feasible and is based on reducing emissions between 85% and 90% by 2050, compared with 2005, and offsetting remaining emissions by ensuring agricultural and forestry carbon sequestration capacity of around 13 million tonnes. The trajectory anticipates emission reductions of between 45-55% by 2030 and between 65%-75% by 2040.

RNC2050 also identifies future trends and the necessary social and economic transformations, including: promoting the transition to a competitive, circular, resilient and carbon-neutral economy; contributing to resilience and national capacity to adapt to climate change; stimulating research, innovation and knowledge production in areas required to achieve carbon neutrality; guaranteeing financing conditions and increasing investment levels; ensuring effective conditions for monitoring progress and adopting carbon neutral objectives in different sectors, including energy, transport, trade, services, industry, waste, agriculture and forests; and involving society in addressing climate challenges through education, information and awareness raising, and increasing individual and collective action.

Specific actions described in the LTS include:

  • eliminating coal-based power generation by 2030 and achieving full decarbonization of the power generation system by 2050;
  • increasing energy efficiency in all sectors;
  • promoting decarbonization in the residential sector, through urban regeneration, increased energy efficiency in buildings, progressive electrification and combating energy poverty;
  • decarbonizing mobility by, inter alia, strengthening public transport, decarbonizing fleets and reducing the carbon intensity of sea and air transport,
  • expanding conservation and precision agriculture and reducing emissions associated with livestock and fertilizer use;
  • preventing waste generation, increasing recycling rates and reducing waste disposal in landfills;
  • increasing the involvement of cities and local governments, particularly with respect to mobility, buildings, services and waste management;
  • eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies, applying carbon tax, promoting greater taxation of resource use and reducing the tax burden on labor;
  • changing consumption and production patterns, particularly through environmental education and awareness; and
  • promoting skills development towards new economic opportunities.

The LTS also describes the need to continue: strengthening international cooperation on climate action, particularly with Portuguese-speaking countries; defending Europe’s position on climate change; and participating in initiatives aimed at promoting and disseminating good climate action practices.

The strategy was developed under the guidance of Portugal’s Ministry of the Environment and Energy Transition, with support from Fundo Ambiental and the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA).

Under the Paris Agreement on climate change, all Parties are expected to “strive” to formulate and communicate mid-century long-term low emission development strategies (LEDS) to the UNFCCC Secretariat by 2020. Portugal joins Benin (in French), Canada, the Czech Republic, Fiji, France, Germany, Japan, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, the US, the UK and Ukraine who have already submitted their LTSs. [Portugal’s Long-term Strategy] [UNFCCC LTS Website]

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