Home News Controversial fracking masterplan to sell gas and oil drilling exploration rights finally trashed

Controversial fracking masterplan to sell gas and oil drilling exploration rights finally trashed

Published on 11/12/2019

A set of highly disputed plan to sell off gas and oil drilling rights throughout Portugal, over land and sea, has finally been scrapped.

Environment minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes revealed to journalists at COP 25 (the UN climate conference taking place in Madrid) that no new concessions will be advanced “in line with the EU’s policy for cabon neutrality by 2050”.

Mr. Matos Fernandes added that the only contract still in place, located on land in Leiria, is still “far from knowing whether or not there really will be exploration.”

An environmental impact study is currently being carried out for this last remaining contract, and the future will become clearer once the results are released.

This revelation comes as great news for the many who have fought for the past few years, through petitions and marches, to counteract the increased frequency of fracking in the country.

If it weren’t for the passionate discourse led by these numerous groups and individuals, Portugal may have fallen down the wrong path in pursuit of money, before the recent eco-conscious surge.

Mr. Matos Fernandes expressed that what is of highest important today is for Europe to act as “one voice” in favour of reaching carbon emission targets, that should see countries’  emissions reduced to levels within the next three decades “that their vegetation can absorb”.

Two of the most notable topics of discussion at COP 25 are the creation of a new mechanism that gives carbon emission credits to countries, and the development of a new way of compensating nations for losses as a result of climate change.

The minister argued that the oldsystem of credits, established in Kyoto back in 90s “no longer makes sense”.

He added that “Portugal is one of the countries that most suffers from climate change, but isn’t here to blame anyone.”

“What we want is for all countries to commit to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing emissions”, he said.

Furthermore, Mr. Matos Fernandes covered importance of funding to power “continuous investment” – particularly in the southern Portugal, where drought persists in some areas, and where the coastline “has already lost 13 square kilometres”.

In the meantime, Portugal has agreed to increase its contribution to the Green Climate Fund, which is designed with the aim to support the energetic transitions of less developed countries.