In a Nutshell

  • Portugal mostly focuses on increasing the natural carbon sink capacity of the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector.
  • Under its national climate law, a maximum of 10% of emissions may be removed to achieve climate neutrality in the sectors covered.
  • Portugal launched a national carbon market based on the Carbon Removal Certification Framework.
  • Portugal will release a new green industrial strategy in 2024.

Role for carbon removal in national climate policy

The Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050, Portugal’s national long-term strategy released in 2019, discusses the role of carbon capture and storage (CCS), carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR). It labels CCS as an important option to decarbonise the energy system, though it considers economic and technical viability only to be attainable in the cement sector. According to the roadmap, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is currently not cost-effective, though technological development will be monitored.

 

The draft updated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) submitted in June 2023 brings additional elements regarding CDR. The main focus is on increasing the natural carbon sink capacity of the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector. Although contributions of CCUS are considered as part of the decarbonisation of the industrial and business sector, the plan mistakably conflates CCUS and CDR. It also acknowledges the upcoming Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) as part of the development of its national voluntary carbon market. This market has already been launched and will align with the rules established by the CRCF.

Support for R&D and Innovation

The Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan only has limited links to CDR. Of note is the creation of a ‘Hub Azul’, a blue hub, aimed at creating a thriving blue economy. The hub will support startups, research and development, and marine infrastructure. Marine-based CDR could fall under this funding. The rest of the plan does not mention CDR-related measures, nor does it mention CCS.

 

The Intermunicipal Waste Management of Greater Porto (LIPOR) is part of a research consortium piloting an industrial-scale CCU facility at a waste-to-energy plant. Part of the process could create negative emissions.

 

The voluntary carbon market, which came into effect in January 2024, includes emissions reduction projects and carbon sequestration projects. It establishes rules for its functioning and requirements and procedures on how the carbon credits can be used. Nature-based solutions are favoured, with a special focus on blue carbon and forest-related projects, even though engineered removals are mentioned. Initially planned to only allow offsets for residual emissions, requirements have been watered down to allow any emission to be offset.

 

The University of Evora and the University of Lisbon take part in the PilotStrategy project, an EU-funded project exploring geological CO2 storage capacities in industrial regions of southern and eastern Europe. PilotStrategy follows after the Strategy CCUS project, which ran between 2019 and 2022. Evora also received funding to conduct the InCarbon project to evaluate the potential of some geological formations to store CO2 captured from large industrial and energy generation sources.

On the horizon

The draft updated version of the NECP mentions the development of a green industrial strategy, due in 2024. Moreover, the creation of the national voluntary carbon market is expected to continue over the next years.

Contributors

Targets

  1. Net zero target: 2050
  2. Net Negative Target:

    No

  3. First interim target: 2030
  4. Type of interim target: Emissions reduction target
  5. GHGs covered: Not Specified
  6. Separate target for emission reduction and removals: No
  7. Comprehensive CDR Target: no
  8. CDR Target for Conventional Removals: yes
  9. CDR Target for Novel Removals: no
  10. Historical emissions:
  11. Annual reporting mechanism: Annual reporting

CDR Plans

  1. Plans for carbon removal (CDR): Yes (nature-based removals e.g. Forestation, soil carbon enhancement)
  2. Planning to use external carbon credits: No
  3. Conditions on use of carbon credits:

Key stakeholders

 

 

Research Institutions

  • Evora University – conducts most of the research on CO2 storage in Portugal.