Voluntary carbon market ‘opportunity’ to increase forest revenue

  • Lusa
  • 10 March 2023

Portugal seeks to be one of the 1st countries "to find a public regulation" in the voluntary carbon market. "We want this regulation to contribute to increasing the degree of confidence in investors."

Portugal’s minister for the environment and climate action, Duarte Cordeiro, said on Friday that the fact the Voluntary Carbon Market “was not ‘silver bullet'” was an opportunity to “add income to the forestry sector”. “We have to work with the Portuguese forestry sectors and help them create a development path,” he said.

The minister was speaking at a public session to present the Voluntary Carbon Market in Portugal at the Lisbon Academy of Sciences.

“Portugal has set a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. We have a basic law on climate that will force us to bring forward the goal of carbon neutrality by at least five years. We have to work on the emissions reduction side”, stressed Duarte Cordeiro.

Today’s discussion came after the government approved a decree-law on 26 January that encourages a national voluntary carbon market to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Recalling the risk of forest fire in Portugal every year, Duarte Cordeiro said that there must be the capacity to develop projects “in vulnerable territories”, reinforcing the “capacity and creativity to seek additional income”.

“In a structure that we have in Portugal about 97% of private property (…) this makes certain areas of the country, such as the centre and north, particularly vulnerable to the risks of fire by the abandonment of the forest and, obviously, reaches what we want that is (…) the carbon neutrality,” he stressed.

Duarte Cordeiro added that Portugal seeks to follow European Union recommendations and be one of the first countries “to find a public regulation” in the voluntary carbon market.

“We want this regulation to contribute to increasing the degree of confidence in investors (…) Investors in forestry, investors in nature conservation, investors (…) who can bring additional means to sectors that are often decapitalised,” he said.

On 10 January in the Assembly of the Republic, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Action explained that the market is based on projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration “that contribute to the fulfilment of national, community and international commitments made by Portugal,” and the measure will contribute to the mitigation of climate change.

Duarte Cordeiro also said that in an initial phase, the Voluntary Carbon Market would give priority to forest carbon sequestration projects, especially in burnt forest areas and priority areas provided for in the Landscape Planning and Management Programmes.