Portuguese parliament votes to increase greenhouse gas emissions less than it could

Portuguese parliament voted against cancelling oil and gas contracts but voted in favour of the suspension of the new oil drill for exploration in 2018.

After years of popular struggle, several petitions and various campaigns against fossil fuel extraction in Portugal, on December 21st, following a petition delivered by ASMAA, the parliament voted several proposals. The bottom line: the deputies agreed to slightly and partially reduce the increase in greenhouse gas emissions in Portugal.


Seven parties are represented in the Portuguese parliament: the right-wing opposition parties PSD (Social Democrat Party) and CDS-PP (People’s Party), the minority government of PS (Socialist Party), the left-wing parties BE (Left Bloc), PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) and PEV (Ecologist Party “The Greens”), and one deputy of PAN (People Animals Nature).

The petition discussed in the plenary session was against the first ever offshore oil and gas exploration in Portugal planned in the Atlantic coast with the consortium of ENI/GALP. A recent request by the companies to extend the deadlines of their three contracts made it into a burning topic as GALP had announced in their shareholders meeting that they would drill near Aljezur in Spring 2018.

Proposals and votes

BE and PAN had a joint proposal, based on an argument about sound climate change policies, recommending the government to

  • not extend ENI/GALP’s contract in the Atlantic coast
  • terminate all oil and gas contracts, without compensations,
  • not permit any new fossil fuel concessions during its mandate, and
  • order a detailed study about the composition and extractive methods involved in the natural gas imported through Sines port.

The parliament voted against this proposal: BE, PAN and PEV voted in favour. PS voted against. PSD and CDS-PP abstained. (PCP voted against 2nd and 3rd points, and in favour of the others.)

PEV had a proposal, based on an argument about environmental sustainability, recommending the government to

  • make the most effort to stop all fossil fuel contracts in the country, and
  • not extend ENI/GALP’s contract in the Atlantic coast.

The parliament voted against this proposal: BE, PAN, PEV and PCP voted in favour; PS voted against; PSD and CDS-PP abstained.

Finally, PCP, with an argument about public interest and a demand for a more participatory process, proposed

  • the suspension of all fossil fuel exploration activities in Aljezur, until the finalization and public discussion of the assessment of environmental impacts and impacts on other economic activities.*

Deputies of BE, PCP, PEV and PAN, and some of PS deputies voted in favour of this proposal, while the rest of PS as well as PSD and CDS-PP abstained. Thus, it was approved.

From a climate perspective, the result translates to “continue increasing emissions, but not as fast as one could.”

Talking the talk

It is at moments like this – when there is a clear Yes/No question about a particular policy – that the real meaning of papers and declarations get revealed.

Just last year, the Prime Minister António Costa announced that Portugal would be carbon-neutral in 2050 (a commitment we could confirm only after his death). It was also last year that new gas pipeline projects were announced. This year, the government declared that all coal power plants would be shut down by 2030 (meaning, surely not during their mandate), a less ambitious measure than the one of the previous right-wing austerity government. Finally, next year, the government will organize a mobility summit in partnership with Volkswagen, a summit without any reference to the decaying public transportation infrastructures.

We are amazed by how little action the government is capable of fitting into so many promises.

* In the Alentejo basin, there exist three contracts of ENI/GALP. This proposal seems to refer to only one of them: the one which includes Aljezur, where ENI/GALP wanted to drill in 2018.


EZLN vs. GALP (english)

Crustaceans, Molluscs and Fish Invade the GALP headquartes as counter-attack against oil and gas exploration in Portuguese seas

EZLN vs. GALP from Climaximo on Vimeo.

On May 18th, an EZLN unit (Exército Zoológico de Libertação da Natureza, Zoological Army for the Liberation of Nature) invaded the headquarters of GALP Energia. On the day when unconfirmed news appeared saying GALP gave up the Aljezur drill, we express our total renouncement against the permanent threat of oil and gas exploration in our seas. We opted for an incursion against fossil fuel terrorism, by making it clear once more that we reject fossil fuels in Aljezur and everywhere else!

With this counter-attack, EZLN aims to clarify to GALP Energia and their partner ENI that if they continue with their intentions to explore fossil fuels here or elsewhere, they will have to confront our iron will and the leviathan of our resistance to being exterminated and to seeing our habitats devastated.

If there is an eventual cancellation of the Aljezur drill, this would be a victory for our seas. However, we know very well that there are still many contracts to cancel, and we will always be in the frontwaves until final victory. We leave it loud and clear that any incursion to our seas in Alentejo, Peniche and Douro basin would mean an escalation of hostilities, to which we would give a really tsunamic response.

Portuguese government cancels four offshore oil and gas contracts in Algarve, the struggle continues against drilling in Aljezur.


Portuguese government cancels four offshore oil and gas contracts in Algarve, the struggle continues against drilling in Aljezur.

The four contracts for exploration and extraction of oil and gas – namely Lagosta, Lagostim, Caranguejo and Sapateira – belonging to Repsol and Partex Oil and Gas (the fossil fuel company of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation) disappeared from the National Authority for Fuel Market website, confirming the cancellation of these contracts in Algarve. The fossil-free movement is committed to the immediate cancellation of the upcoming drill in Aljezur coast and the remaining concessions.salvar2
Climáximo considers this news as an important victory of dozens of movements who defend the sea and the coast against the infinite thirst of the fossil fuel industry. Following the cancellation in last December of Portfuel’s onshore contracts in Algarve, this offshore cancellation is yet another step forward. However, these cannot justify the other contracts, nor should they be imagined to calm down the movement against fossil fuels: we will do everything possible to stop the Aljezur drill and the continuation of the other concessions in Alentejo Coast, Peniche Basin and the West coast until Oporto.
We will continue the struggle against fossil fuels, not only because it is the only possible way to limit global warming by 2C, but also as collectives and individuals defending the oceans and the soil against extractivist practices destroying the geological, biological, economical and social systems we all depend on. Six contracts are cancelled, nine more to go. Keep the fossil fuels in the ground!climaximo logo



Oil and Gas Contracts in Portugal: 6 Left in the Ground, 9 to go

Climáximo, Portuguese climate justice movement fighting against fossil fuel exploration and extraction in Portugal and anywhere else in the world, celebrates the recent cancellation of the Portfuel and Repsol/Partex contracts in Algarve but highlights that there are more 9 fossil fuel contracts, onshore and offshore, in Batalha, in Pombal, and all over the Atlantic coast from Porto until Sagres. All of these contracts need to be canceled and Portugal should advance to a fossil-free future.20090864

These cancellations are a fruit of continuous and determined struggle by the various local movements, in Algarve and in several other places of the country, which clearly demonstrated the contradiction between fossil fuel projects and the lives and sustenance economy of the local populations together with the fight against global climate change. Climáximo has been always and will continue to be on the side of the cancellation of all these irrational concessions.

The government’s decision is positive, but cannot be used to justify the other concessions: we are well aware of the power of the corporations behind these catastrophic concessions, but the government’s duty should be to defend the populations who elected them. Hence, the remaining contracts in Alentejo coast (offshore), zona Oeste (offshore) and in Beira Litoral (onshore). Mobilizations will be crucial to put these processes on the right track.

Last November in COP-22, Marrakesh, the Prime Minister António Costa declared that Portugal would be carbon neutral by 2050. This simply means that there cannot be any fossil fuel exploitation in this country. Being good words, it is also too far fetched in its time scale: the carbon budget to limit global warming by 2ºC implies a rapid transition to take place in the following two decades. Climáximo will do everything it takes to press for a rapid and just transition, and to disrupt the suicidal logic of the fossil fuel industry which is based on the extractivist capitalism that exploits the people and the planet simultaneously.

6 contracts are gone, now it’s time for the other 9 !