New York, 28 March 2019

SEAE AGNU 28 03 2019

Photo: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, our planet and all of us face the most serious challenge of our collective future: climate change.

Every week brings news of climate change related devastation. We must act united, urgently and with ambition; and Portugal stands ready to do its part and welcomes the UN Secretary General’ 2019 Climate Action Summit.

Addressing the challenge of climate change and fulfilling the agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals have to go hand-in-hand. Promoting the transition towards a low carbon society is beneficial to the planet and contributes to social development, economic growth, representing investment and job opportunities in our countries, in our cities and people.

The goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda will have a particular role in guiding our collective efforts on a social fair transition towards low carbon economy.

In 2016, and in line with the ambition set forth by the Paris Agreement, the Portuguese government established the goal of carbon neutrality in 2050.  This is our national, European and international commitment.

More than words, we have a plan; and that goes that by 2030:
• We reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 45%-55% in relation to 2005;
• A target of 35% for energy efficiency;
• To achieve 47% of renewables in gross final energy demand.

These are ambitious targets, yes, but they are also realistic, based on our past achievements.

In short, it is not just a transition; it is a clean energy revolution. In March 2018, we were able to function for three days only with renewable energy and in January this year, we achieved a new record - wind generation delivered 63% of electricity consumption. This transition to renewable energy generated already three thousand new quality jobs.

Besides, we also support others building their own plans through special cooperation funds to support environment policies in African countries, such as the Community of Portuguese speaking countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Transition to a neutral carbon economy is fundamental, indeed. But the fight against climate change is not complete without a particular attention to the Oceans.  Here too, Portugal has been very active in promoting the sustainable use of Oceans and supporting the international governance of the Oceans. Our willingness to co-organize in 2020 a UN Ocean Conference, together with Kenya, illustrates our commitment.

We look forward to welcoming you in Lisbon and work together in pursuing our common vision.

Thank you.

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