Mariana Gomes, 22, is the power behind this court action.
Mariana Gomes, 22, is the power behind this court action. She has been working to achieve it since 2022. Image: Lusa

Portugal in dock over climate failings

Three environmental associations team up to lodge “historic action”

Three environmental associations – including Quercus, one of Portugal’s most respected – have initiated legal proceedings against the Portuguese State.

Último Recurso (Last Resort), Sicaena and Quercus claim the government has failed to comply with its own ‘Basic Climate Law’.

Mariana Gomes, the 22-year-old president of Último Recurso, describes the lawsuit as “an historic action”. The intention being to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Says a statement going out today: “Despite the fact that the (Basic Climate) law has been in force for two years, little progress has been made towards achieving the objectives outlined and the deadlines set”.

The three bodies therefore accuse the government of “negligence”, stressing they should have brought in new regulations, “including a carbon budget, a climate action portal, a national energy and climate plan and sectoral mitigation plans”. 

They emphasise that the government’s inaction is “especially reprehensible” given the “extreme temperatures and unprecedented damage experienced in the country”. (Portugal, very much like most of the rest of the world, had an unusually hot summer and has been suffering, particularly in the south, with years of less than sufficient rainfall).

The civil action has been filed in Lisbon’s Civil Court after “all non-judicial avenues have been exhausted”, the statement adds – citing requests for meetings with political parties, and even an Open Letter to the President of the Republic, none of which have changed a thing. ND