- Published: September 16, 2016
Energy and climate change are intrinsically connected. Electricity generation in particular is the single greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The greatest share of the world’s electricity generation still comes from the burning of finite reserves of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Upon combustion, these fuels release tremendous amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere, which, among other things, contribute to an increased greenhouse effect and the subsequent changes in our climate. However, in countries like Portugal that reality is changing.
CNN recently published an article which showcases the result of a comprehensive Portuguese renewable energy strategy that is now bearing fruit. In May 2016, for more than 4 consecutive days, Portugal was powered entirely by renewable energy, using a combination of wind, solar and pumped hydro storage. For a total of 107 hours all of the country’s electricity needs were supplied without emitting any greenhouse gasses.
In addition to the obvious economic benefits for a country that relies heavily on imported fossil fuels, this step shows that Portugal is on a clear path to achieving the ambitious commitments made in the Paris Agreement, signed on 22nd of April 2016 at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Watch here (By Natasha Maguder, CNN)
- Published: June 20, 2016
Photo: Permanent Mission of Portugal to the UN
On June 20th Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Sweden signed a Letter of Intent establishing a two-year long rotation of military transport aircraft capacity for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), in the presence of USG for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, and USG for Field Support, Atul Khare.
The five countries took the initiative to provide military air transport services for MINUSMA, based on a six months long rotation. Norway will make available the already existing Norwegian camp at Bamako Airport (Camp Bifrost) to the other countries, sustaining camp facilities and services for the entire two years period.
Altogether, those capacities are an important force multiplier and a critical component for the normal functioning of the Mission.
By committing themselves to make available a high quality enabling capacity to MINUSMA, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Sweden are guarantying long term predictability to a Mission that operates in a vast territory and under severe security conditions.
Furthermore, this cooperation is a cost-effective solution to the UN, as well as to the contributing countries, and a good example of how countries together can contribute with critical assets.