Porto is on its way to becoming a climate neutral city by 2030

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Miguel Nogueira

The European Council is discussing the 2030 climate agenda; and in the meantime, this matter was debated at the level of European officials under the theme “Towards Carbon Neutrality in Europe”, whose goal is assessing what have cities been deploying to meet the climate goals under the Paris Agreement.

Vice-Mayor of Porto, Filipe Araújo attended the debate and highlighted the role that cities play during the transition to carbon neutrality and carbon offsetting. As such, several examples were laid down to illustrate what the city of Porto has been doing to meet the Paris Agreement aims, and reach a post-carbon economy, by 2030.

Porto took on this commitment and despite the pandemic, things are still on track. “Cities cannot deviated from this goal; they have been utterly affected by the Covid-19 crisis, but it is imperative that each euro can contribute to the green and digital transformation of Europe”, enhanced Filipe Araújo, during the meeting (on a virtual format) that was held previously to the European Council’s, which convenes today and Tomorrow, on 10th and 11th December to discuss the EU 2030 climate goals.

The panel also included guest speakers such as the vice president of the European Parliament, Heidi Hautala, the secretary of state of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change of Finland, Terhi Lehtonen, and the coordinator of Environment of the PPE Group, Peter Liese. The speakers assessed the crucial role that cities play regarding meeting the carbon neutrality goal.

“64% of the member cities of the Eurocities network have committed to reach carbon neutrality until 2050, and among them, 14 cities have already taken the commitment to meet those goals before 2030. Cities have been the drivers to meet the goals set, as it is in the urban areas that large part of the emissions is concentrated”, the vice Mayor of Porto, and also acting president of the Environment Forum of Eurocities, Filipe Araújo furthered.

Filipe Araújo stated, as well, that Porto was pioneer in the promotion of electric mobility in the country, as the City Hall and the municipal companies have invested and continue to invest on ecological fleets. The municipality now has environmentally-friendly cars and motorcycles and quadricycles. The necessary infrastructure to charging these vehicles is in place and this is an ongoing investment.

Also, Porto is getting greener by the day, with the new vehicles for recyclable trash collection running on natural gas. The recycling collection all across town is carried out with "green" vehicles in order to reduce pollution and improve the carbon footprint.

In the scope of the energy transition process, the rehabilitation of Municipal Housing corresponds to a true positive impact on combating energy poverty, as about 12% of this type of dwelling involves 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.

Solar panels have enabled savings of around 60%, in water heating to a population that most hardly would have own means of adopting such a solution.

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.

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 in several streets in Porto, with lamps using LED technology and involving significant reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Porto is committed to mitigate climate change; thus, on the city's own initiative, Porto raised the CO2 reduction target to 50 percent till 2030, for a more decarbonized city where citizens are granted access to a safe, sustainable and renewable energy.