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Portugal

Ranking 25th in this year’s CCPI, Portugal falls by eight ranks and slips into the group of medium-performers. The country’s performance declined in almost all categories apart from Climate Policy, where the country continues to be rated high. In the GHG Emissions category, Portugal receives a very low rating, especially due to an increase in emissions in recent years (2012-2017). The end of the economic crisis is reflected in the increase of energy use and emissions and most notably the effects of climate change amplifying droughts are the main reason for the fall in the ranking. In 2017, the country was hit by severe forest fires and as a result of successive years of droughts hydropower plants are running out of water, leading to an increase in the utilization of fossil fuel-fired plants. This is reflected in the low or even very low rating in the trend indicators in the categories Renewable Energy and Energy Use a rating. National experts criticise that despite the implementation of a carbon and fossil fuel tax in 2018, the government continued to provide €2.3 billion fiscal benefits for coal in 2018. However, national experts’ evaluations also show positive developments in Portugal’s national climate policy. They acknowledge the government’s commitment to the carbon neutrality target by 2050, presented in December 2018 and formally approved in July 2019, and to a coal phase-out recently anticipated to 2023, which is to be achieved by means of 100% renewable energy in the mid-century. As in the past regulations in energy use and non-energy sectors have not proven enough results, national experts are now welcoming new legislations in the forestry sector, emphasizing on the importance of this sector for the country. The outcome of those legislations is however yet to be seen. The overall ambitious and therefore high-rated national climate policy performance also translates to the international level. Experts commend Portugal for advocating for ambitious climate action, most recently in the context of increased ambition for 2030 and 2050 targets at EU level. For its international climate policy performance the country is therefore rated very high.