Portugal ranked eight places higher in Climate Change Performance Index

  • Lusa
  • 7 December 2020

Portugal was the third-highest climber in climate policy on the Climate Change Performance Index, behind Sweden and New Zealand.

Portugal has risen eight places on the Climate Change Performance Index from 2019 and was the third-highest climber in climate policy, behind Sweden and New Zealand, it said on Monday.

The Climate Change Performance Index 2021 is a comparative analysis of climate protection in 57 countries (plus the European Union), which account for 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is the responsibility of two international organisations, “Germanwatch” and “NewClimate Institute”.

In this year’s list, which does not reflect this year’s data or the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the two organisations note that neither country is on a path compatible with the objectives of the Paris Accord, the climate agreement signed by virtually all countries in the world in December 2015.

However, they point out that greenhouse gas emissions are falling in more than half of the countries analysed. The European Union receives a “high” rating for climate protection, and within it, there are seven countries that also stand out for their positive performance, one of them Portugal, with another five in the “very low” category, including Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic). The United States is at the bottom of the list of countries, behind Saudi Arabia.

On the list (which leaves the first three places empty), led by Sweden, followed by the UK and Denmark, the EU bloc has risen from 22nd place last year to 16th this year, and Portugal is in 17th place (which is in fact 14th because the first three places are not allocated).

Two years ago Portugal was in the same position, but last year it had fallen, partly due to drought, electricity production in thermal power stations and fires, in 2017.

In the analysis of the Portuguese classification, the environmentalist association Zero, which is part of the International Climate Action Network (which cooperates in the publication of the Index), highlights Portugal’s significant rise but warns that per capita emissions of greenhouse gases “are still increasing”, with no major increase in the use of renewable energy.

“The Climate Law, including a proposal to end fossil fuel subsidies, as well as an emissions reduction target of at least 55% for 2030 in relation to 2005, which will come under discussion and should be voted on during 2021, will be a decisive instrument of climate action for Portugal,” the president of Zero, Francisco Ferreira said in a statement.

The document from international organisations also highlights as positive in Portugal the green tax measures in the areas of renewable energy and transport, energy efficiency policies in the industry sector and new legislation in the forestry sector. Portugal is also highlighted for its positive international relations, for its commitment to be neutral in greenhouse gas emissions in 2050.

The document also highlights the big falls in the Index for Spain, Belgium or Greece, and the presence in the top 10 of Morocco, Chile and India, three developing countries.

There is also the fact that none of the major economies like the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Australia, which pollute the most, have useful climate policies in place to reduce carbon pollution.

This was the second consecutive year that the United States came last.

The Index, published annually since 2005, assesses greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy and is based on the latest statistics from the International Energy Agency for 2018 (the latest year available) and an expert assessment.

It aims to put political and social pressure on countries that have so far failed to take ambitious climate protection measures.