Portugal ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 31st of May, 1994 and signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol on 29th of April, 1998 and 31st of May, 2002, respectively. The Kyoto Protocol provides that the European Union as a whole be required to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 8% compared to 1990. In the burden sharing agreement at the Community level it was established that Portugal could increase its emissions by 27% compared to 1990, but in the period 2008-2012 may not exceed the emission of 381.94 million tons of CO2 equivalent (Mt CO2e), an average annual amount of 76.39 Mt CO2e.
The achievement of the national targets on climate change under the Kyoto Protocol for the period 2008-2012 was based on the following key instruments:
the National Programme for Climate Change (PNAC); the National Emissions Allowances Allocation Plan for 2008-2012 (PNALE II); the Portuguese Carbon Fund (FPC); and the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (ENAAC). It is important also to highlight the contribution of other policy instruments to reductions in domestic emissions such as the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (PNAEE), the National Renewable Energy Plan (PNAER), the Programme for Electrical Mobility in Portugal and the Public Administration Energy Efficiency Programme - ECO.AP, among others.
For the year 2020, the European Union has established a Communitarian reduction target of at least 20% of greenhouse gases emissions in the EU area, compared to 1990. At European level, the sectors covered by the EU Emissions Trading System must reduce their emissions by 21% compared to 2005 and other sectors by 10% compared to 2005. The sharing of efforts between Member States was established by Decision No. 406/2009/EC of 23 April. In this context, Portugal, between 2013 and 2020, must limit the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from sectors not covered by the EU ETS by 1% compared to 2005. Under the Climate Energy Package, targets of 20% of energy from renewable sources in final energy consumption and a 20 % increase in energy efficiency were also adopted. In this context, Portugal has undertaken a target of 31% of energy from renewable sources in final energy consumption, of which 10% are in transport. By Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 93/2010 of 26 November, the Government decided to draft two documents to address the challenges of climate change arising from commitments for the post-2012 period: the National Low Carbon Roadmap (RNBC) and the National Programme for Climate Change 2013-2030.
Portugal therefore remains fully committed to meeting the challenges of climate change including, through the continuation of ENAAC, both immediately and looking forward to 2020 and beyond.
The Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy (MAOTE) has powers that include the development of climate policy, in order to make the transition to a low-carbon economy, particularly in regard to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. MAOTE hosts the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA IP), the institution responsible for monitoring and development of climate policy at national level.
It is also noteworthy that it was through the Portuguese Carbon Fund that Portugal made its contribution under the Fast Start commitment. The Fund operates with the APA IP, with its objective being to contribute to achieving the targets that the Portuguese State undertook when it ratified the Kyoto Protocol and commitments on climate change policies.