Last month, Portugal announced the closure of its Sines power plant. The coal-powered facility was responsible for over 13% of the emissions for the whole country. 

They are scheduled to close their final coal power plant in early 2021. 

Burning coal for energy releases carbon dioxide (C02) into the atmosphere which forms a heat-trapping blanket around the planet. Too much C02 causes temperatures to rise, disturbing weather patterns and climates around the world. 

Think of too much C02 like using a wool blanket during a heatwave; no bueno. 

Portugal’s closure of the Sines plant is a part of its National Energy and Climate Plan. The main goal is to reduce the countries carbon dioxide emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

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“Portugal had already accelerated its coal phase-out from 2030 to 2023. The fact that it is being brought forward yet again to 2021 shows just how fast a country can clean up its energy system when it commits to clean energy and climate action,” says Kathrin Gutmann, director at the Europe Beyond Coal Campaign.

Belgium was the first EU country to end coal-burning back in 2016. Portugal will be the third EU country to close its coal plants early following Austria and Sweden. 

“Governments that have yet to plan a speedy coal exit are losing precious time to put in place ambitious coal exit plans that reflect market and policy realities,” Gutmann says.

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