Referring to last year (2021), the National Institute of Statistics (INE) says that provisional estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions indicate a decrease of 1.3%, “maintaining the downward trajectory since 2017”.

“This trend mainly reflects the 4.5% increase in electricity produced from renewable energy sources (64.9% of total electricity), maintaining the consecutive growth since 2017”, explains the document.

Bearing in mind the need to reduce GHG emissions due to global warming (in Portugal the average air temperature increased by an average of 0.42ºC from 1990 onwards compared to the 1971-2000 average), INE recalls that the 2020 reduction target of GHG was surpassed, minus 32.9% compared to 2005 (target was up to 23%), even though the Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to this figure.

In 2021, INE data specify, the decrease in GHG emissions compared to 2005 was 33.8%, namely due to the commitment to renewable energy sources (RES) to produce electricity.

“Between 2006 and 2021, the incorporation of FER increased by 31.3 p.p. (64.9% in 2021), i.e. equivalent to a 104.4% increase in electricity produced from these sources. This evolution was crucial for achieving, in 2020, the objective of 60% (59.6%) stipulated in the National Plan for Renewable Energies (PNAER) for that year, with the target for 2030 being set at 80%”, says INE, also highlighting the reduction in energy dependence from abroad, from 88.8% in 2005 to 67.1% in 2021.

Other data characterizing 2021 in environmental terms indicate that in 2021, a hot and dry year, the air quality was on average 31% of the days very good and 45.9% of the days good, and most of the bathing waters were classified as great.

In the area of waste, there was an increase in urban waste in 2021 (although the ratio between urban waste and Gross Domestic Product has improved) and waste management moved away from the target of preparing for use and recycling, reaching 32%, the which means minus 23 percentage points compared to the target for 2025 (55%) and minus six percentage points compared to 2020.

“On the negative side, the increase in sectoral waste generation (+20.4%) stands out, partly as a result of economic growth and, in particular, the growth of the construction sector (+39.5 billion euros in production in the sector), with waste from construction rising by 53.1%”, stresses INE.