Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management grants Porto A scores according the Carbon Disclosure Project

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Filipa Brito

Porto received the highest rating for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while building resilience to the impacts of climate change. Alongside other members of the A List regarding environmental action, which features 88 cities worldwide, Porto is setting an example as a resilient, engaged city that safeguards its citizens, its economy and, ultimately, the planet. The CDP Europe Awards 2021 were held in an online format on 2nd March, under the motto #BuildForwardBetter.

The full event, which is available for streaming on CDP’s website, featured Europe's leading CEOs, mayors, investors and policymakers’ plans on the agenda to #BuildForwardBetter.

Even amid the pandemic, Porto continues to ramp up its environmental action and resilience, teaming them up with steady ambitions to keep building its environmental structure and to lead a truly green recovery towards the EU's 2050 climate neutrality goal.

The Municipality of Porto was represented by vice-mayor and councillor for Innovation and Environment, Filipe Araújo, who highlighted the municipal investments in energetic efficiency, the production of renewable energy and bioclimatic intervention in public buildings, as well as in public transports with zero carbon emissions, so that Porto is “healthier, more ecologic, more sustainable and more resilient”.

In 2020 Porto was included in the restrict group of urban centres that are working to become resilient, healthy and prosperous places, both to live and to work, keeping in mind efforts to counteract the impact of climate change, and thus putting the city of Porto on the right track ahead of COP26. The CDP is a not-for-profit charity that is based on Transparency, Vision and Action, towards disclosing environmental impact all over the globe.

Also, this was the first time that the CDP Europe Awards was delivered by Euronews, Europe's most-watched news channel.

Porto is committed to mitigate climate change

In December 2016, the Municipality of Porto has concluded its Municipal Strategy of Climate Change adaptation (EMAAC), based on the National Plan for Climate Change (PNAC) and in the National Strategy for Climate Change adaptation (ENAAC). The array of strategic options encompasses concrete action, namely the renewal of the fossil fuel municipal fleet to electric cars.

Also, the municipality has implemented Nature Based Solutions all across the city, as the Urban Native Woodlands Programme, aka FUN Porto, or the Urban Vegetable Gardens in Porto, thus increasing the city's resilience to climate change and providing citizens with positive ecological benefits. In addition, public lighting is also in the municipality's agenda regarding energy efficiency, as the operation "Porto.Luz + Eficiente" has enabled the replacing of traditional street lamps (2.483 in several streets in Porto) with lamps using LED technology.

The city of Porto is aiming at 50% carbon emission reductions

In addition, Porto is part of a group of 12 European cities that signed the European Pact to reducing to at least 40% carbon emissions by 2030, in line with the EU climate objectives. The city of Porto is committed to go further regarding the carbon footprint and is aiming at 50% carbon emission reductions.

Cities are world leaders when it comes to effective action. The goals of the Paris Agreement need local action and by stepping up to these pledges and developing local climate activities and plans, many cities are climate champions.

By signing the Pact, the 12 cities - Porto (Portugal), Genoa, Turin, Verona, Milan, Bologna (Italy), Tirana (Albania), Strasbourg (France), Tampere (Finland), Oslo (Norway), Manheim (Germany) and Rijeka (Croatia), commit to meeting these goals, under the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which gathers today more than 8.800 local governments in 57 countries.

Porto joined the local ClimaAdapt project

Porto joined the local ClimaAdapt project in the beginning of 2015, in order to develop a Municipal Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change, and in December 2016, the city of Porto publicly presented the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

The ClimAdaPT.Local is the result of a tender launched by the Portuguese Environment Agency, whose main objective is to train national and municipal officers on adaptation to climate change and is integrated in the ADAPT program.

Porto's application was based on the focus on the economic recovery being combined with a sustainable environment, under the European Pact on Ecology that issues the guidelines for the climate commitment taken by the EU; also, it presented important issues to the city, and namely nature based solutions for the urban environment, which includes the Asprela Central Park.

The relevance of green spaces, taken by the city's Master Plan, currently under public discussion, of doubling the number of green spaces in the city has strengthened Porto's application in this area, alongside the Environment strategy in the city and the results achieved in 2020, which are set out in a Brief Guide to the Environment.

The final version of the EMAAC includes 52 options that seek to ensure adaptation to climate risks which are expected to severely increase by the end of the century, namely heavy swell, rising sea levels, excessive rainfall, floods, landslides and Extreme temperature (heat waves /cold waves).

33 options are already underway and 11 uproot the short term, depending on the final format that may be accommodated in the PDM. About 5 were submitted to European grants, H2020 or INTERREG programs, and may be implemented with the possible approval of applications.

The Municipality of Porto also signed the Charter of Commitment for the creation of the National Network of Municipalities for Adaptation to Climate Change.

Porto is a member of Eurocities since 1990

Porto is a member of Eurocities since 1990. Founded in 1986, this network of cities promotes the exchange of best practices and represents the interests of major cities in the framework of Community institutions, striving to include urban demands in European policies.

EUROCITIES was founded in 1986 by the mayors of Barcelona, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Lyon, Milan, and Rotterdam. This network decided that comprehensible development policy analysis and discussions should include the issue of cities and their economic, political and social development.

At present, EUROCITIES represents around 130 million citizens throughout Europe, bringing together local governments of over 140 main cities from 30 countries.

"Porto is a good example of the energy transition process", says REN21

The renovation work carried out by Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira and his team regarding the rehabilitation of Municipal Housing corresponds to a true positive impact on combating energy poverty, as about 12% of this type of dwelling involve the installation of solar panels for sanitary water heating, for example. Therefore, the city of Porto is complying with a growing share of renewables and is committed to reducing energy consumption costs.

"Porto (Portugal) tackled energy poverty directly by renovating public buildings to make them more energy efficient and by installing renewable heating and cooling facilities and solar hot water systems, resulting in annual energy savings of 286 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per square metre (m2)", as reported by REN21, the only global renewable energy community of actors from science, governments, NGOs and industry.