Porto Climate Pact aims to mobilize society to achieve more ambitious goals

Last Monday, during the public meeting of the Executive, the Porto Climate Pact was presented, an initiative by which the municipality wants to bring society together in the pursuit of ambitious goals in the field of CO2 neutrality.

The invitation has been launched and applies to everyone: “Institutions, academia, companies. This can only be achieved if we have a union between all of them,” underlined the Vice Mayor of Porto, Filipe Araújo, during the exhibition he made of the Porto Climate Pact. “From today, it will have a website and any institution, public or private, can sign the pact,” he stressed.

The initiative promoted by the Municipality of Porto corresponds to a strengthened ambition in pursuing environmental goals, emphasized the councilor responsible for Environment and Climate Transition: “We have been very committed to our environmental goals and try to lead the agenda. We chair the Eurocities Network Environment Forum. We have aligned our challenges and ambitions with the European agenda. We endorse the Green City Agreement and the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy,” emphasized Filipe Araújo, noting that the stated target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030 has already been practically achieved. “By 2019 we have already achieved 48% of this reduction. We are now very close to reaching the target,” he congratulated.

“The role of the port and the municipality is limited in a sense, because we are only responsible for 6% of the gas emissions in the city. The majority comes from buildings and transport, 90%, and will require a major effort to become decarbonised in the coming years. Carbon neutrality is an opportunity for a fair and just transition,” said the vice mayor of Porto.

“We are convinced that it is perfectly possible to achieve CO2 neutrality within the next decade. The city must make a collective effort, involving large-scale participation, involving residents, the government and the European Commission. We want to be a more resilient city, committed to energy efficiency, energy production and storage. We must not forget that there is a paradigm shift in this decarbonisation process, circularity is essential. This design can open up new opportunities for economic activity and job creation,” said Filipe Araújo, calling on “institutions, academia, companies” to join the initiative.

On the Porto Climate Pact website you will find a range of information on measures with an environmental impact, as well as financing options to implement them. Interested parties can subscribe to the document voluntarily, non-binding and free of charge. “It is a great goal for the city for 2030, a strong ambition, but it cannot be otherwise in Porto. I am sure that we will unite the city in this,” emphasized the alderman.

This ambition of the municipality earned the praise of the executive, with the socialist Rosário Gambôa hailing the “pedagogical concern in the sense of mobilizing people”. “The climate is the cause of our time, which must mobilize us all,” he repeated.

For BE, Sérgio Aires welcomed the name of the initiative: “Pact is a strong word, which means reaching a consensus with the participation of civil society and citizens. We are reaching the target earlier, but we should not underestimate that the year 2020 was absolutely atypical,” he warned.

Ilda Figueiredo, of the CDU, agreed that “it is necessary to get these issues on the ground”, highlighting “three very important areas: mobility and transport; energy and the link with housing.”

the future of energy

In response to the communist councilor, Filipe Araújo considered energy production a “core” issue. “That’s why we changed the company’s statutes to Águas e Energia do Porto. Because we are aware of the importance of the energy issue for the future, we have already started specific projects on energy communities”, explains the vice president, admitting that “the big intention is to have all municipal roofs in the city in photovoltaics. to set production. By producing this energy, we can make people pay for energy much cheaper. We make buildings more efficient, more than 100 million has been invested in social housing in the city.”

Asked by Councilor Vladimiro Feliz, who alluded to the severe drought the country is experiencing and questioned the lack of a desalination strategy, Filipe Araújo opined that “there is still a long way to go before we get there. First of all, we have to think about the reuse of water from the WWTP. We are strongly committed, we have foreseen an investment of 45 million euros in the WWTP, we want to evolve in these treatments to have quality water that can be reused,” he emphasized.

“Twin” bridge for high-speed train

The Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, also referred to the planned works for the doubling of the Porto-Lisbon railway line, the studies of which recommend the construction of a “mirror bridge, that is, the widening of the Ponte de S. João”.

“There is no project, there is this definition and the recognition that the Ponte de S. João is not enough to increase this transport, which will require a parallel bridge,” the Councilor for Urban Planning, Pedro Baganha, said later in statements to journalists on the sidelines of the meeting. “What was presented to us was a preview (image) that reproduces the Ponte de S. João with parallel twins and what is defined is this path,” he added.

Campanhã will be “the main railway terminal” of the new canal in the municipality and the level of uncertainty that currently exists is related to the “development of the lines north of Porto”. “Most likely, this line will also pass through the airport, but as far as Porto is concerned, the main station will remain Campanhã,” concludes Pedro Baganha.

In response to Vladimiro Feliz, who had questioned the safety and impact on the mobility system of the Boavista – Império BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) line, the Mayor of Porto emphasized that it was a work of Metro do Porto.

“It is not a decision of the Porto chamber, it is a decision of Metro do Porto. We follow the process. We will not be able to use public and collective transport as an alternative to individual transport without impact. It’s an impossible comparison. We talked about the Porto Climate Pact: we will have to change our lives. The idea that people will continue to commute to work based on the car is impossible. Either we are preparing now, or this is going to go wrong,” reinforced Rui Moreira, realizing that the benefits are not always immediately seen: “I am well aware of the political consequences, I have certainly lost votes because of it. People still think your car is Lucky Luke’s horse.”

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