The focus of climate policy is on developing a low carbon economy. Through policies and legislation, Portugal has promoted energy efficiency, effective liberalisation of energy markets and reduced dependence on fossil fuels through increased use of biofuels and improved public transport. Portugal established a Climate Change Commission in 1998. In 2012 it was dissolved and the new Portuguese Environment Agency (APA IP) became responsible for monitoring and development of climate policy at the national level. APA IP operates within the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy (MAOTE), which holds competence under climate policy, thereby assuming a decisive role in the proposal, development and implementation of related policies.

The key instruments for the implementation of climate policies are the National Climate Change Programme (PNAC), the Portuguese Carbon Fund, the National Adaptation Climate Change Strategy (ENAAC), and the National Low Carbon Roadmap (RNBC). The Programme of the Government explicitly mentions compliance with GHG emission reduction targets as one of its main objectives.

The National Climate Change Programme (PNAC) is the main strategic instrument for compliance with GHG limitation commitments in the context of the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union Burden Sharing Agreement. The proposed policies and measures are broken down into those included in the Reference Scenario, and additional measures, defined at a later stage for ensuring that GHG reduction targets are met. The last PNAC was introduced in 2006, reviewed in 2007, and set the policies and measures aiming at complying with Kyoto targets for 2008–2012. The PNAC for 2013-2020 (PNAC 2020), not available before publication of this edition, should consolidate the measures and instruments mentioned in PNAC 2006 and define new policies for non-ETS sectors.

The Portuguese Carbon Fund (FPC), also established in 2006, finances or co-finances projects that promote transition to a resilient, competitive and low-carbon economy. Since 2012 the Carbon Fund has been managed by APA, IP. The FPC only has its own income, including funds from the harmonisation between taxes on diesel fuel for heating and for transport, and from taxes on low-efficiency bulbs. The compensation does not incorporate biofuels and revenues from auctioning allowances under the EU ETS (industrial installations and aviation operators). By the end of 2013 the Carbon Fund had about 6.8 Mt CO₂e carbon credits.

The National Low Carbon Roadmap 2050 (RNBC), published in 2012, considers a number of elements to be taken into account in the planning of actions to tackle climate change. The underlying vision of the RNBC is aligned with the objective of the EU to reduce GHG emissions by 80-95% in 2050 compared to 1990 levels in order to achieve a transition to a competitive, low carbon economy. Portugal has the goal of limiting the growth of GHG emissions to 1% by 2020 compared to 2005, for sectors not covered by the EU-ETS (including LULUCF and aviation emissions). The RNBC aims to support strategic planning and development of national GHG emissions reduction pathways by 2050. The RNBC studies the technical and economic feasibility of trajectories to reduce emissions in the energy sector, industrial and waste processes, agriculture, forestry and land use.

Public policies on climate change have been mainstreamed in a number of sectoral policies. The “carbon dimension” is now part of the strategic and economic considerations of the energy and industry sectors, and increasingly also of the agriculture and forestry sectors. In transport, some steps have already been given to decarbonise the fleet of vehicles, for instance, promoting natural gas for the urban bus fleet and the electric vehicle program. However, delays on the elaboration of instruments to reduce GHG emissions, such as the PNAC 2020, the low-carbon sectoral plans, as well as the progress reports of the adaptation strategy indicate that since the financial crisis discussions about climate policies has had lower importance on Portugal’s political agenda.

Energy supply

Portugal has scarce fossil fuel resources, such as oil, coal and natural gas, and is largely dependent on external sources (78.1% in 2011). In the past decade the energy dependence rate has been declining though and Portugal is exploring more of its renewable energy sources, particularly hydro, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The main contribution of renewable energy comes from hydropower and forest biomass energy. Between 2007 and 2011 the total installed capacity in renewables grew by 35.3%. Geothermal energy is only used in the Azores. Solar radiation offers great potential and the potential of wave energy is considerable. Due to the available potential along the coastline to exploring ocean energy, a pilot area was created to further explore this concept and to develop offshore wind energy projects.

The most important means of promotion of renewables is a feed-in tariff for existing installations and for micro- and mini- generation units. Most of the feed-in tariffs were defined in 2007 and are applicable to renewable technologies (except large hydropower plants) for a certain timeframe or until an upper limit of production is reached.

The structural plans for the energy sector, such as the PNAC, the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (PNAEE) and the Strategic Transport Plan had an important role in improving the overall energy performance of the country at the same time as reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. The PNAEE comprises a number of energy efficiency programmes and measures in the areas of transport, residential and services, industry and State. The last National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (PNAEE 2015), which comprised a number of energy efficiency programmes and measures with a 2015 timeline, was recently replaced by a new National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (PNAEE 2016), which was combined with the National Action Plan for Renewable Energy (PNAER 2020). The revision establishes new targets for 2016 and a reduction of primary energy use for 2020.

Within the framework of European 20/20/20 targets, reflected in the National Energy Strategy 2020 (2010), by 2020 Portugal aims to reduce primary energy consumption by 25%, with public bodies to cut energy use by 30%. As part of the plan to use energy from indigenous renewable sources, Portugal aims to derive 31% of final gross energy consumption and 10% of energy for transport from renewable sources, at the smallest cost for the economy while also reducing its energy dependence and ensuring security of supplies by promoting a balanced energy mix.

However, according to the PNAEE 2016 and the PNAER 2020, the emphasis on renewable energy sources has to be set against current crisis and macroeconomic forecasts. For example, the new plans suggest revising incentives for installing additional renewable energy capacity, above all in the case of technologies which might not be sufficiently competitive.

Carbon pricing

The government transposed into national legislation the regulation that allows the country to implement the EU-ETS and its subsequent regulations and amendments. The latest regulation reflects the phase of the EU-ETS for 2013-2020.

REDD+ and LULUCF

The LULUCF sector turned from a net-source of emissions in 1990 to an overall net-sink in 2011. The main drivers for this change have been changes in land-use patterns over time, and the introduction of policies for increasing afforestation, improving the system for the prevention and combat of forest fires (introduced after the ‘big fire’ seasons of 2003 and 2005), and the introduction of carbon sequestration incentives in agricultural and grassland soils.

Transportation

Transportation has been a major source of GHG emissions. The total number of passengers travelling by public road transport and railway fell sharply from 1991 to 2011 (33.64% and 45.82%, respectively), and there was a sharp increase in individual transport usage rate, which more than doubled between 1991 and 2011 for passenger vehicles.

In the National Energy Strategy 2020, the government set the objective of having 10% of the energy consumption in transport coming from renewable sources by 2020. One project established to achieve this target was the Electric Mobility Programme (Mobi.E). Other support schemes for the use of renewable energy sources in the transport sector include adjustment of the Petrol Product Tax (ISP) for small producers and a biofuel quota to companies supplying fuels from 2011 to 2020.

Adaptation

In 2010, Portugal adopted the National Adaptation Climate Change Strategy (ENAAC), which aims to raise awareness about climate change, keep updated and available scientific knowledge on climate change and its impacts, and strengthen measures to monitor the effects of climate change. The first phase of the ENAAC, to 2013, involved a through collection of key action areas and adaptation measures. There were some difficulties related to the need for better communication between sectors, a more solid scientific base, prioritisation of actions, and further institutional and political support. These aspects are being addressed in the revision and implementation of the ENAAC.

Portugal also has a National Risk Assessment, based on the 2010 ENAAC, the 2013 Emergency Plan for Civil Protection, and the 2006 National Plan for Fighting Fires. The National Risk Assessment was prepared by the National Civil Protection Authority and approved by the National Civil Protection Commission in January 2014. The National Risk Assessment follows EU guidelines for Risk Assessment and Mapping Guidelines for Disaster Management and considers the impacts of climate change based on different scenarios.

This country is a member of the EU and so EU legislation also applies.

This country is a member of the EU and so EU legislation also applies.

Resolution of Council of Ministers 20/2013, established the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (PNAEE 2016) and a National Action Plan for Renewable Energy (PNAER 2020) (2013)

This Resolution established the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (PNAEE 2016) and the National Action Plan for Renewable Energy (PNAER 2020). It repeals the PNAEE 2015, approved by the Resolution of Council of Ministers 80/2008, of 16 May 2008. It is underpinned by the idea that reducing oil dependency reduces the foreign trade deficit,…read more

Decree-Law 56/2012 on the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA I.P) (2012)

The Portuguese Environment Agency (APA I.P) was established through the Decree-Law 56/2012, replacing the earlier Climate Change Commission (1998). Operating within the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy (MAOTE), it became responsible for monitoring and development of climate policy at the national level. The Agency holds the entire competence for climate policy development, thereby…read more

Decree-Law 39/2010 on electric mobility, last amended by Decree-Law 90/2014 (2010)

The Electric Mobility Programme was established by the Resolution of the Council of Ministries 20/2009, of 20 February 2009. Decree-Law 39/2010 regulated the Programme. It aims to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, guarantee recharging through an efficient and integrated network, and establish universal access to electric mobility services. Decree-Law 39/2010 was implemented by Decree…read more

Decree-Law No. 117/2010, regulating sustainability criteria for production and use of biofuel and bio liquids, amended by Decree-Law 6/2012 (2010)

This Decree-Law establishes sustainability criteria for production, marketing and use of biofuel and bio liquids and defines the limits of mandatory incorporation of biofuels from 2011 to 2020. It sets a goal for the incorporation of biofuels for each year, which is obligatory for the entities providing fuels for consumption. In terms of energy content,…read more

Resolution of Council of Ministers 93/2010, mandates the development of a new regulatory framework for post‐2010 climate policy in Portugal (2010)

This Resolution establishes that the Government will draft different documents to address the challenges of climate change arising from commitments for the post-2012 period: - a National Low Carbon Roadmap, with horizons of 2020, 2030 and 2050, taking into account the European Low Carbon Guideline, prepared by the Commission, and its lessons for national climate…read more

Resolution of the Council of Ministers 24/2010, adopts the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (ENAAC) (2010 / Adaptation Framework)

The ENAAC sets out the need for adaptation. It was adopted through the Resolution of the Council of Ministers 24/2010. The ENAAC is structured around four objectives that reflect its approach to the problem. 1) Information and knowledge is the basis for the development of the strategy, focusing on the need to collect, consolidate, and…read more

Council of Ministers Resolutions 104/2006 and 1/2008, establishes and amends the National Climate Change Programme (PNAC) (2006 / Mitigation Framework)

The PNAC 2006 contains a set of measures defined for the sectors of the economy with an impact on GHG emissions: energy (demand and supply, including the sub-sectors transport, residential and services, and industry), agriculture and livestock, forestry and waste, and thereby developed a framework of policies and measures. GHG emissions are estimated and projected…read more

Decree-Law 71/2006 on the Portuguese Carbon Fund (2006)

Establishes the Portuguese Carbon Fund (FPC), a state financial instrument for acting on the carbon market to ensure compliance with national targets on climate change issues, making use of the flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol and supporting national projects to reduce emissions. This financial/ economic instrument is an autonomous fund with a financial and…read more

Resolution of Council of Ministers 68/2005, establishes the National System for the Estimation of Emissions by Sources and Removals by Sinks and Air Pollutants (SNIERPA) (2005)

This Resolution establishes the National System for the Estimation of Emissions by Sources and Removals by Sinks and Air Pollutants (SNIERPA). It contains a set of legal, institutional and procedural arrangements that aim at ensuring the accurate estimation of emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHG and other air pollutants. SNIERPA is composed…read more

Decree-Law 20/1996 on the Protection System Fund to combat Climatic Changes (SIPAC), amended by Decree-Law 23/2000 (1996)

This Decree-Law 20/1996 creates the Protection System Fund to combat natural disaster dues to climatic changes (SIPAC). It consists of 7 chapters regulating the issuing of compensation for agricultural harvest destruction due to environmental disaster caused by climatic change. It also establishes the composition, duties and competencies of the aforementioned fund entitled to issue financial…read more

Emissions More information

Rank as emitter (including LULUCF):
Below Top 50
GHG Emissions 2007-2011 (MtCO2e)
Country-reported GHG emissions (incl. LULUCF) (MTCO2):55.3 (reporting year: 2012)
Country-reported GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF) (MTCO2):68.75 (reporting year: 2012)

Information More information

GHG inventory:1990-2012 (GHG inventory submission of 2014)
Climate risk assessment:National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (ENAAC) (20100

Targets

Economy wide targets - Up to (and including) 2020

EU targets adopted; increase of emissions in sectors not covered by EU ETS by 1% by 2020 from 2005 levels

Source:
Economy-wide targets - Beyond 2020

None

Targets - Energy demand

Reduce primary energy consumption by 25% by 2020, with government bodies achieving a reduction of 30%

Source:
Targets - LULUCF

None

Targets - Renewables

Increase share of renewables in final gross energy consumption to 31% and in energy used for transport to 10%.

Source:
Targets- Transport

None

Policies

GHG Mitigation framework More information

National Climate Change Programme (2006, amended 2008)

Source:
Adaptation framework More information

National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (2010)

Source:
Policies - Carbon pricing

EU ETS

Source:
Policies - Promotion of low-carbon energy (inc. renewables)

Biofuel Quota: biofuels shall be the main source for achieving the target of 10% renewables in the transport sector

Source:
Policies - Energy demand

Ten programmes focused on energy efficiency measures for transport, residential and services, industry, public sector, and agriculture (PNAEE 2013-2016)

Source:
Policies - Transport

Electric Mobility Programme to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, recharging network, and universal access to electric mobility services

Source:
Policies - LULUCF

None

The Portuguese Republic is a democratic and unitary state. Politically and administratively, the structure (mainland and autonomous regions) is based on a tripartite division of its territory into Districts (total of 20), Municipalities (total of 308) and Parishes (total of 3092). The archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are autonomous regions with their own political and administrative statutes.

The Constitution distinguishes four independent and sovereign organs: the President of the Republic, Parliament, the Government and the Courts of Law. Parliament is the representative assembly of all Portuguese citizens. It is composed of a minimum of 180 and a maximum of 230 Members. Members are elected by electoral districts, which may be either multi-member or single member electoral districts to ensure proportional representation. The Government is responsible for setting policy. It is also the superior organ of the public administration and it is formed by the Prime Minister, the Ministers and Secretaries and Secretaries of State. The Government has political, legislative and administrative competences.

The Government and the Assembly have the competence to draw up national legislation. Legislation is issued in the form of Decree-Laws. When legislative texts containing legislative rules are passed by Parliament, they become known as Decrees of the Assembly of the Republic and, once they are enacted by the President, as Laws of the Republic. Decree-Laws issued by the President and Laws issued by the Parliament all possess equal force.

The competence to initiate laws and referenda lies with the members of the Assembly, parliamentary groups, the Government, and also, under the terms and conditions established by law, with groups of registered electors. The competence to initiate laws in relation to the autonomous regions lies with the respective Legislative Assemblies. Discussion of bills comprises a debate on the general principles and another on the details. Voting comprises a vote on the general principles, a vote on the details and a final overall vote. If the Assembly so decides, texts that are passed on the general principles shall be put to the vote on the details in committee, without prejudice to the Assembly’s power to mandate the Plenary to put the details to the vote, or to the final overall vote by the Plenary.

The last general election was held in October 2015 and elected all 230 members of the Assembly. The next election is expected to take place in 2019.

Assessment of climate change policies in the context of the European Semester (2013) – Country Report: Portugal [http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/g-gas/progress/docs/pt_2013_en.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Constitution of the Republic of Portugal. Available from: [http://www.en.parlamento.pt/Legislation/CRP/Constitution7th.pdf]. Accessed 13 December 2014.

Decree-Law 20/1996 on the Protection System Fund to combat Climatic Changes (SIPAC), amended by Decree-Law 23/2000. Available on [http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/por135499.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Decree-law 38/2013 [http://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2013/03/05300/0164101655.pdf]. Accessed 10 December 2014.

Decree-Law 39/2010 on electric mobility [http://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2010/04/08000/0137101386.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Decree-Law 56/2012 on the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA I.P). Available on [http://www.apambiente.pt/_zdata/3161_D.L%2056_2012.pdf]. Accessed 12 December 2014.

Decree-Law 71/2006 on the Portuguese Carbon Fund. Available on [http://dre.pt/pdf1s/2006/03/060A00/22092210.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Decree-Law 90/2014 on electric mobility [http://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2014/06/11100/0309603121.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Decree-Law No 117/2010, regulating sustainability criteria for production and use of biofuel and bioliquids. Available on [https://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2010/10/20700/0478204795.pdf]. Amendment available on [http://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2012/01/01200/0021300213.pdf]. Accessed 10 December 2014.

Fifth National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2010). Available on [http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/prt_nc5_resubmission_2.pdf]. Accessed 10 December 2014.

Information Portal on Renewable Energy – Portal das Energias Renováveis (PER) [http://www.energiasrenovaveis.com/]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Legal Sources on Renewable Energy (RES-LEGAL): Portugal, 2014. [http://www.res-legal.eu/search-by-country/portugal/summary/c/portugal/s/res-t/sum/180/lpid/179/]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy, 2014. [http://www.portugal.gov.pt/pt/os-ministerios/ministerio-do-ambiente-ordenamento-do-territorio-e-energia.aspx]. Accessed 13 December 2014.

National Civil Protection Authority (2014). National Risk Assessment. Available at: [http://www.prociv.pt/RiscosVulnerabilidades/Documents/Avalia%C3%A7%C3%A3o%20Nacional%20de%20Risco.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

National Low Carbon Roadmap (Roteiro Nacional de Baixo Carbono). Agencia Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA). [http://www.apambiente.pt/index.php?ref=16&subref=81&sub2ref=117&sub3ref=301]. Accessed 10 December 2014.

National Low Carbon Roadmap [http://www.apambiente.pt/_zdata/DESTAQUES/2012/RNBC_COMPLETO_2050_V04.pdf]. Accessed 14 December 2014.

Parliament of Portugal (Assembleia da Republica). [http://www.en.parlamento.pt/Legislation/]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Portugal’s Energy Agency Agência para a Energia (ADENE). [http://www.adene.pt]. Accessed 10 December 2014.

Portuguese Environment Agency (APA I.P), 2014 [http://www.apambiente.pt/]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Resolution of Council of Ministers 1/2008, amends the National Climate Change Programme (PNAC) [http://dre.pt/pdf1s%5C2008%5C01%5C00300%5C0010600141.pdf]. Accessed 12 December 2014.

Resolution of Council of Ministers 104/2006, establishes the National Climate Change Programme (PNAC 2006) [http://dre.pt/pdf1s/2006/08/16200/60426056.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Resolution of Council of Ministers 20/2013 of 10 April. Available on [https://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2013/04/07000/0202202091.pdf]. In English [http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/eed/doc/reporting/2013/pt_2013report_en.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Resolution of Council of Ministers 24/2010 [http://dre.pt/pdf1sdip/2010/04/06400/0109001106.pdf]. Accessed 10 December 2014.

Resolution of Council of Ministers 68/2005, establishes the National System for the Estimation of Emissions by Sources and Removals by Sinks and Air Pollutants (SNIERPA). [http://dre.pt/pdf1s/2005/03/054B00/23712374.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Sixth National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2014). [https://unfccc.int/files/national_reports/annex_i_natcom/submitted_natcom/application/pdf/prt_nc6_resubmission.pdf]. Accessed 10 December 2014.

XIX Constitutional Government Programme (2011). [http://www.portugal.gov.pt/media/130538/programa_gc19.pdf]. Accessed 11 December 2014.

Last modified 17 October, 2015