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Portugal’s first municipality with a serious climate action plan

Zero Emissions soon in Torres Vedras?
Portugal’s first municipality with a serious climate action plan

Portugal’s first municipality with a serious climate action plan

Saturday 10th February 2024.

Portugal has 308 municipalities. One of these is Torres Vedras. Located 54 km north-west of Lisbon, it covers an area of 407 km². The medium-sized city, which is home to 83,072 people (2021 census) and spreads across 13 parishes, is governed by the Socialist Party and its mayor Laura Maria Jesus Rodrigues. Last week, on 31 January, the municipality’s Climate Action Plan was presented to the public at a well-attended event in the auditorium of the Environmental Education Centre. The city’s inhabitants now have the opportunity to comment on it publicly from 2 to 15 February. ECO123 has studied the 308-page plan in detail.

In opening the meeting, the Councillor responsible for the Environment and Sustainability, Dulcineia Ramos, recalled the path that the municipality of Torres Vedras has followed so far in the area of climate protection. Everything began in 2010, when the city signed the Covenant of Mayors, thereby making a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the municipality of Torres Vedras by 20 per cent. This was followed in 2013 by the approval of the Torres Vedras Energy Sustainability Plan and the consequent implementation of 45 measures that have since helped the city to exceed the targets established for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. Such results can be achieved when a municipality takes people on board and motivates them.

Next, in 2016, a strategy was developed that would enable the municipality to adapt to climate change, leading to the identification of several climate adaptation options as part of the “Clima.adaptalocal” project, and, in 2021, the goal was set to make the city of Torres Vedras climate neutral by 2050.

According to Dulcineia Ramos, the municipality of Torres Vedras is currently at a turning point in terms of climate action, as the important phase of the planning and strategic definition of measures and actions has been completed and it will now move on to the implementation of a number of crucial projects. All of these projects are clearly set out in the Torres Vedras Municipal Climate Protection Plan, which was explained to those attending the presentation meeting by the technicians André Alves, Carla Ribeiro and Raquel Lopes.

In terms of climate change mitigation, this plan has four dimensions: Decarbonisation; Energy Efficiency; Energy Transition; and Education, Training and Awareness. These categories involve 25 measures that are sub-divided into 84 separate actions. The aim is to reduce energy consumption in Torres Vedras by 41 per cent and carbon dioxide emissions by 56 per cent by 2030. The final goal is to reduce energy consumption in Torres Vedras by 72 per cent and carbon dioxide emissions by 100 per cent by 2050, based on 2009 levels.

Torres Vedras’ climate action plan covers six areas: a rise in mean sea level; excessive rainfall; high temperatures and heat waves; reduced rainfall and droughts; storms, high winds and tornadoes; and awareness-raising and education. 18 measures are to be implemented, spread over 56 actions.

It should be noted that the Torres Vedras Municipal Climate Action Plan includes a system for monitoring the implementation of its measures, as well as a management /administration model.

It is also important to note that the design of these actions is based on a study of the territory of the municipality of Torres Vedras and covers several different areas: identification of the city’s biophysical and socio-economic characteristics, its emission levels and climatic features; definition of its climate risks, current climate impacts, climate sensitivity and adaptive capacity, future climate impacts, and current and future climate vulnerabilities; as well as the definition of priority areas at risk.

Contributions to the Municipal Climate Action Plan can be submitted via the Torres Vedras City Council’s website. It should also be mentioned that the document can be consulted on request at the Town Hall. ECO123 also makes the document available for you. You can download it as a PDF file (here).

Uwe Heitkamp (64)

trained TV journalist, book author and hobby botanist, father of two grown-up children, knows Portugal for 30 years, founder of ECO123. Translations: Dina Adão, John Elliot, Ruth Correia, Patrícia Lara, Kathleen Becker
Photos: Uwe Heitkamp

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