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Nº 145 – A long journey …

Praia de Santa Cruz beach in Portugal at sunset

Saturday 18th March 2023.

Laura Rodrigues is mayor of Torres Vedras, a town with just under 80,000 inhabitants in the western part of central Portugal, and belonging to the Estremadura region. Torres Vedras is located just under 60 km north of Lisbon. Together with her vereadores (councillors), Laura Rodrigues is planning to shape their town by 2050 in such a way that it will be fit to function in a climate-neutral way. So what is their plan?

An important step in order to reach this goal has been the drawing up of the action plan on sustainable energy and climate resources entitled PAESC Torres Vedras 2050, which was presented last week, Wednesday evening, 1 March, in the auditorium of the „Edifício dos Paços do Concelho de Torres Vedras“ (Town Hall).

During this session, attended by numerous citizens taking an interest, the councillor in charge of the Environment and Sustainability, Dulcineia Ramos, took the opportunity to remind her audience of the long strides already made by the town executive in terms of sustainability and climate protection. The beginning of this journey was marked 20 years ago by the drawing up of the municipal environmental plan, followed by joining the Covenant of Mayors in 2010, implementing the Torres Vedras Action Plan for Energetic Sustainabiity in 2013, as well as by framing the municipal strategy for climate change adaptation in 2016. As a result of this journey, as part of which 45 measures to reduce greenhouse gases have already been implemented, the Torres Vedras district (400 km²) managed to achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions by around 29% compared to 2009, associated with a significant reduction in electricity consumption (21%), according to the councillor.

This was followed by the presentation of the „PAESC Torres Vedras 2050“ by Elsa Nunes and Inês Silva of IrRADIARE, the company that drew up the plan. They took the opportunity to explain that the „PAESC Torres Vedras 2050“ comprises four strategic goals to work towards lowering emissions (decarbonisation, energy efficiency, energy transition and building capacities, education and conscience), giving rise to 25 measures supporting energetic sustainability, taking shape in 83 projects. In a subsequent phase up to 2030 the implementation of this plan is expected to bring Torres Vedras a reduction in energy consumption by 41% and in CO2 emissions by 56% compared to 2009. The goal for 2050 is to achieve carbon neutrality, through lowering energy consumption by 72% compared to 2009. Now will this succeed?

 

 

No-one is left behind.

The strategy to ensure the holistic, effective and efficient implementation of the above-mentioned plan includes the formation of a team consisting of three panels: the commission for the process management (made up of the members of the town council of Torres Vedras), the commission tasked with its implementation (made up of the technical staff of the town of Torres Vedras) and the supervision commission (made up of local players occupying key functions, plus all members of the municipal Climate Protection council).

At the end of the presentation of the PAESC Torres Vedras 2050 plan mayor Laura Rodrigues took to the microphone once more to voice her conviction that the town executive will achieve climate neutrality by 2050. According to Laura Rodrigues, changing behavioural patterns, in the area of mobility in particular, is of fundamental importance for achieving the goals of the plan presented on this occasion, as according to Ms Rodrigues mobility represents the main source of CO2 emissions.

Another thing worth mentioning is that the public can participate in the PAESC Torres Vedras 2050 on the town hall website of Torres Vedras. In the next edition of ECO123 we will present the plans of the city of Guimarães, counting some 152,000 inhabitants and a historic centre that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001. Guimarães is the only Portuguese city to have made the grade among 53 European municipalities participating in the EU Climate Action Programme. Things are definitely happening.

 

 

Should you have your very own climate success story to tell do drop us a line: theobald.tiger8550@gmail.com

Uwe Heitkamp (62)

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:Câmara Municipal de Torres Vedras, dpa

 

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