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You are here: Home / The European environment – state and outlook 2010 / Country assessments / Portugal / Climate change mitigation - Drivers and pressures (Portugal)

Climate change mitigation - Drivers and pressures (Portugal)

Topics: ,
SOER Common environmental theme from Portugal
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

DRIVERS

Portugal is highly dependent on transforming imported fossil fuels to meet its energy needs, as it does not have any non-renewable resources worth using. Nevertheless, in 2008, primary energy consumption amounted to 24.4 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent), which is 5 % less than the previous year and 14 % less than the 2005 consumption levels. In 2008, gross energy consumption per capita amounted to 2.298 toe per inhabitant.

 

Figure 1 Trend in primary energy consumption by fuel, Portugal 

Fig. 1 - Trend in primary energy consumption by fuel, Portugal

Source: DGEG, 2010

 

Total energy consumption levels continue to show this trend: 18.54 Mtoe in 2008, which is 1 % less than the previous year, and 12 % less than the 2005 consumption levels. Figure 2 gives an indication of the country’s high oil dependency (52 % in 2008). Natural gas and electricity are gaining some ground but the energy mix is likely to hold over the next few years. The total energy consumption per capita amounts to 1.745 toe per inhabitant.

 

Figure 2 Trend in total energy consumption by fuel in Portugal

Fig. 2 - Trend in total energy consumption by fuel in Portugal

 Source: DGEG, 2010

 

Figure 3 shows the current status of total energy consumption per sector following recent structural changes in the economy. As the economy becomes more service-based the energy consumption share in industry is decreasing, however, consumption in the transport and service sectors has increased against the 1990 levels. The household consumption share has fallen even though consumption levels are higher.

 

Figure 3 Total energy consumption by sector, Portugal 2008

 

Fig. 3 - Total energy consumption by sector, Portugal 2008

Source: DGEG, 2010

 

Since 2005 there has been a decoupling of GDP (real GDP at 2000 levels) growth from total energy consumption. Total energy intensity is now 3 % below 1990 levels, at 185 toe per EUR million, but still above the EU-15 level. This is a consequence of the low energy efficiency in some economic sectors.

 

Figure 4 Trend in energy consumption and intensity, Portugal

Fig. 4 - Trend in energy consumption and intensity, Portugal

  Source: DGEG, 2010

 

The share of renewable energy sources is increasing as is the variety of options available, with wind power experiencing significant development recently. Hydropower has an important share but is dependent on the regularity of the hydrological production index, which in Portugal has been below the 1997 base values for several years. In 2007, although biomass and waste amounted to around 11 % of the total primary consumption, less than 1 % of it was used for electrical production.

 

Figure 5 Trend in share of renewable energy sources – primary energy consumption, Portugal 

Fig. 5 - Trend in share of renewable energy sources – primary energy consumption, Portugal

Source: DGEG, 2009

 

In 2007, the share of renewable electricity (around 35 %) was more or less the same as in 1998 and was mainly derived from coal and gas thermoelectric plants. This implies that the growing electricity demand is being supplied by more renewable energy, thus maintaining the same levels. Given that the country has faced several years of drought recently, renewable sources other than hydropower have also gained some ground.

 

Figure 6 Renewable electricity share of gross electricity consumption, Portugal

Fig. 6 - Renewable electricity share of gross electricity consumption, Portugal

Source: DGEG, 2009

 

The transport sector is responsible for the largest share of total energy consumption. In Portugal, modal share has steadily grown in favour of private vehicle ownership, while public road and rail transport shares have decreased. This is due to real estate development and increasing urban sprawl which, in turn, has stimulated the acquisition of private vehicles.

 

Figure 7 Trend in passenger transport demand by mode, Portugal

Fig. 7 - Trend in passenger transport demand by mode, Portugal 

 Source: INE, 2007

 

Portugal has yet to decouple real GDP growth from passenger transport demand. This relates to energy efficiency and intensity, as well as economic productivity.

 

Figure 8 Trend in passenger transport demand and GDP, Portugal

Fig. 8 

 Source: INE, 2007

 

Due to its geographical location on the periphery of the European Union, Portugal is highly dependent on road freight transportation. Rail freight is still marginal and is mostly used within national borders.

 

Figure 9 Trend in freight transport volume demand by mode, Portugal 

Fig. 9 - Trend in freight transport volume demand by mode, Portugal

Source: INE, 2007

Demand for freight transportation has been growing faster than real GDP, as in passenger transport demand.

 

Figure 10 Trend in freight transport demand and GDP, Portugal

Fig. 10 - Trend in freight transport demand and GDP, Portugal

 Source: INE, 2007

 

PRESSURES

Total GHG emissions in Portugal, excluding land use, land-use change and forestry, have increased by around 2 % per year since 1990. Total emissions for 2008 were 78.5Mt CO2e, which is around 5.5 % above the Kyoto target for 2008-2012, although this rate appears to have been decreasing steadily. In 2008, GHG emissions were mainly composed of 77 % CO2 (37 % increase on 1990 levels), 16 % CH4 (26 % increase on 1990 levels) and 7 % NO2 (6 % reduction on 1990 levels).

 

Figure 11 Total GHG emissions and Kyoto target, Portugal 2008 (excluding LULUCF)

Fig. 11 - Total GHG emissions and Kyoto target, Portugal 2008 (excluding LULUCF)

Source: IPCC Inventory 2008, APA 2010

 

Emissions mainly originate from the production and processing of fossil fuels and their use for transport purposes, these areas having seen respective increases of 20 % and 92 % against 1990 levels.

 

Figure 12 Total GHG emissions by sector, Portugal 2008 

Fig. 12 - Total GHG emissions by sector, Portugal 2008

Source: IPCC Inventory 2008, APA 2010

 

Private car ownership, and consequently transport sector emissions, increased significantly during the 1990s. Although the introduction of new automobile technologies and taxes had helped to reduce acidic and ozone precursor substances, Portugal still has to decouple total energy consumption in this sector from GHG emissions.

 

Figure 13 Transport – total energy consumption and emissions, Portugal 

Fig. 13 - Transport – total energy consumption and emissions, Portugal

Source: IPCC Inventory 2008, APA 2008

 

 

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