DOCUMENTARY: Helping Portuguese cyclists to get on their bikes through the EU Emissions Trading System

Through the Portuguese Environmental Fund, Portugal is using revenue from the EU’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to decarbonise the country. Our documentary highlights how this support is encouraging citizens to get on their bikes.

Portugal will invest €300 million until 2030 in 960 km of bike paths to promote cycling as a sustainable and healthy mode of transportation. Cities such as Lisbon and Porto have implemented bike-sharing programmes to make cycling more accessible. Catarina and Laura are local cyclists in Lisbon who have benefited from these measures and have greened their mobility by integrating cycling into their daily routine.

Over a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in Portugal came from the transportation sector in 2022. This includes private cars, trucks, buses, air travel and maritime transport. To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the country must reduce its carbon footprint by 65%. This includes reducing transport-related emissions by at least 40%.

In this context, the Association for Urban Mobility by Bicycle (MUBI) is a non-profit organisation that aims to create better conditions for cyclists in Portugal by influencing public policies at the national and local levels.


“I started using my bike again to go everywhere on a daily and regular basis – to work, to the cinema, to go shopping and to meet up with friends.”

Catarina, local cyclist.

MUBI will continue raising more and more money to support people who want to travel in other ways than by car, such as by bicycle or cargo bike to take their children to school.”

Herculano Rebordão, MUBI board member.

“More of this is needed throughout Europe. Still, too many emission allowances are handed out for free to large industries. If we auction those, it will create more revenues to invest in climate-friendly solutions.”

Sam Van den plas, Policy Director at Carbon Market Watch

“I’ve been living in Montijo for about two months, but I lived in Lisbon for more than two decades and it was in Lisbon that I started using the bicycle as my usual means of transport.”

Laura, local cyclist.

“We would like to have more detailed information about which projects the revenues from the EU ETS are actually supporting, because this is not yet clear. This will be particularly important in the future because the new EU ETS directive requires all revenues to be spent on climate action.”

Ana Muller, Project & Policy Officer at ZERO.

This story is part of the Human Stories project that aims to reveal how the EU ETS affects people’s lives in the path to decarbonise Europe and how this potential can be further boosted.