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British newspaper elects Portugal’s renewable energies coup to ‘key science moments of 2016’

In a week of conflicting energy stories, the Guardian newspaper in UK has elected Portugal to the 3rd slot of what it calls “key science moments of 2016”, while Público reports that the country’s emission of greenhouse gases has been the highest since 2009.

Taking the good news first, the four days last May (between 7 – 11) in which Portugal was able to power itself exclusively from renewable sources has been hailed for the ground-breaking achievement it was by University lecturer Mark Miodownik who helped the Guardian compile its ‘list of 12’ of the year’s most relevant moments.

The paper put the discovery of the Zika virus and the vertical landing of Space X ahead of Portugal’s energy coup, followed by the discovery of ‘huge’ helium reserves in Tanzania, the discovery of a nearby habitable planet and other ‘finds’, including the proof that a bad marriage can lead to an early death.

But before Portuguese readers could bask too serenely in this largely positive news (unless of course they are party to a bad marriage), Público revealed that data for 2015 has shown that the nation’s emission of greenhouse gases is the highest it has been for years.

The reasons stem from an increasing area of burnt countryside, “less electricity produced from renewable sources” and dependence on energy “from outside” the country.

According to statistics institute INE, Portugal emitted 27.9 million tons of CO2 in 2015 – proving that dependence from energy produced elsewhere “has returned to the maximums reached in 2011”.

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