Portugal to Push for Legalising Green Deal during its EU Presidency Tenure

It will push for consensus among all member states to make Europe the first continent to become climate-neutral by 2050, tough negotiations expected

Portugal has stated that it intends to approve the EU’s first climate law during its six-month presidency of the EU’s Council. The most noteworthy aspect of the climate law is its plan to legalise the European Green Deal’s target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050. The law envisions making the EU’s climate targets irreversible.

In line with this goal, the law is expected to require member states of the EU to cut net emissions down by at least 55% over this decade. This is an increase from the previously announced target of 40%. Raising the bar for 2030 is expected to provide greater confidence to investors and policymakers as they design roadmaps in line with the EU’s target for 2050.

Joao Pedro Matos Fernandes, Portugal’s Environment Minister stated in an interview that although they were hopeful for an agreement on the law by April, tough negotiations lay ahead of them since certain EU institutions were not on board. In October last year, the European Commission conducted an impact assessment to prepare the ground for adapting climate and energy policies to help decarbonise the European economy. Referring to excessive heat waves, drought and soaring temperatures in Europe, Fernandes said: “In a country like Portugal, you can feel it, you can see it. We have to talk about adaptation.”

Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa took over from German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the beginning of January and will hold the mantle until June this year. This is Portugal’s fourth presidency tenure since 1992. The European Green Deal has acquired renewed importance as a means to a sustainable recovery, as the EU deals with the social and economic consequences of Covid-19. The EU is hopeful that the climate law will enable energy businesses to plan transitions and make crucial investments in developing and operationalising green technology.