On December 2015, Argentina’s new President Mauricio Macri was sworn into office, and gave encouraging signs that the new administration considers climate change a top priority for his country. Argentina recently adoped of policies like the ‘Biofuels Law’ and the new ‘Renewable Energy Law,’ and ratified the Paris Agreement in September 2016—all very positive signs. Nevertheless, more action will be needed as, under current policies, emissions from all sectors (excluding LULUCF) are projected to grow significantly by over 50% above 2010 levels by 2030. While current policies now meet the unconditional INDC, both the unconditional and conditional INDC targets submitted by the former government in 2015 remain—and are rated by the CAT—‘inadequate’. A revised version of Argentina’s NDC is expected under the President Macri’s new government, and it will need to be significantly more ambitious to fairly reflect Argentina’s capabilities.
On October 1st, 2015, Argentina submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), including an unconditional target to reduce GHG emissions including land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) by 15% below its BAU scenario by 2030 (equivalent to 60% above 2010 levels or 128% above 1990 levels excluding LULUCF). Argentina has also put forward a conditional target to reduce its emissions by 30% below BAU by 2030 including LULUCF (equivalent to 30% above 2010 levels or 85% above 1990 levels excluding LULUCF).
During COP21, a new delegation under Macri’s government arrived in Paris and indicated Argentina would revise its submitted INDC. Many country experts have indicated that the INDC falls short of expectations—it is a pledge mostly summarising what the country has already done. On 21 September 2016, together with other 30 countries, Argentina ratified the Paris Agreement; however, it has not yet officially submitted its NDC to the UNFCCC, leaving room to believe it may still present a revised version of its targets, in line with previous statements from country representatives.
The CAT rates Argentina’s unconditional and conditional targets as “inadequate.” The “inadequate” rating indicates that Argentina’s commitment is not in line with interpretations of a “fair” approach in line with holding warming below 2°C, let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. This means that if most other countries followed Argentina’s approach, global warming would exceed 3–4°C.
Based on our assessment, Argentina is likely to meet its unconditional target with currently implemented policies. In this sense, the Argentinian INDC represents little—if any—effort beyond what it’s already doing today. Moreover, under Argentina’s unconditional INDC target, emissions excluding LULUCF could grow significantly by around 57% in the period 2012–2030. To be consistent with the Paris Agreement, Argentina’s NDC would need to involve an objective to reduce emissions from present levels by 2030. The energy, agriculture and cattle-ranching sectors are projected to account for more than 80% of the country’s total emissions by 2030. More ambitious and updated policies in these sectors are needed for Argentina to tap its full potential and get closer to what iwould be a fair contribution in emissions reduction, given its capabilities.
Paris Agreement targets
On 21 September 2016, Argentina ratified the Paris Agreement. Given that it has not yet officially submitted its NDC to the UNFCCC, our analysis is based on the INDC presented in October, 2015.
Argentina’s INDC includes two emissions reduction targets against a BAU scenario for 2030 provided in the INDC (670 MtCO2 including LULUCF and, according to our calculations, 633 MtCO2 excluding LULUCF by 2030). The unconditional target is a reduction in GHG emissions including LULUCF of 15% by 2030 below BAU, which is equivalent to 60% above 2010 levels and 128% above 1990 levels excluding LULUCF. The conditional target is a 30% GHG emission reduction, including LULUCF, by 2030, which is equivalent to 30% above 2010 levels and 85% above 1990 levels excluding LULUCF.
The main mitigation actions mentioned in the INDC are in the energy, transport and AFOLU (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use) sectors. In particular, the INDC foresees a diversification of the energy mix and energy efficiency measures; modal shift towards rail transport; and forest conservation and protection. The INDC does not include measures that affect livestock production or waste, but it leaves the door open to include them in the future.
CAT ratings are based on emissions excluding the LULUCF sector. To obtain the INDC emissions level for the sectors excluding LULUCF, the CAT uses LULUCF projections as reported in the latest National Communication and inventory report of the country (Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, 2015). In its INDC, Argentina reserves the right to adjust its target.
Argentina submitted a list of unilateral and supported mitigation actions currently being undertaken across the sectors energy efficiency, renewable energy, biofuels, forest management and waste management. According to the submission “these initiatives have a direct and positive consequence in the emission reduction of GHG, contributing to the ultimate objective of the Convention” (Government of Argentina, 2010).
Argentina’s “inadequate” rating indicates that the country’s commitment is not in line with interpretations of a “fair” approach in line with holding warming below 2°C, let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. This means that if most other countries followed Argentina’sapproach, global warming would exceed 3–4°C. The reduction target could therefore be strengthened to reflect the Argentina’s high capability.
Under the new government of President Mauricio Macri, significant new policies have been introduced, including a renewable energy law. These policies are projected to contribute to emissions reductions of around 10–12 MtCO2e. Under current policies, emissions from all sectors (excluding LULUCF) are still projected to grow significantly, by over 50% above 2010 levels by 2030. Energy-related emissions are projected to increase about 60% from 20102030, and the agriculture and cattle-ranching sector emissions to rise about 30% in the same period. Energy, agriculture and cattle-ranching sectors are projected to account for more than 80% of Argentina’s total emissions in 2030. More ambitious policies in these two sectors are needed for it to get closer to what it would be a fair contribution in emissions reduction, given its potentials and capabilities.
A very important development in the energy sector is the new ‘Renewable Energy Law’ published at the end of 2015, which aims to increase the share of renewables (including hydro smaller than 50 MW) in total power generation to 20% by 2025. Another important development is in the transport sector, where Law 27.132 aims to promote shifts in transport mode towards rail (International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV, 2014). Incentives to replace old vehicles and improve the efficiency of road freight are also in place (Government of Argentina, 2015). And there have been efforts to improve mode shift and congestion in Buenos Aries with the Ciudad Verde programme (KAS, 2014). A new ‘Biofuels Law’ was adopted in March 2016 and requires a minimum 12% of bioethanol blend in transport fuels starting in 2016.
For the agriculture and cattle-ranching sector, planned policies include crop rotation, improvements in technology, efficiency of fertiliser use and increase in the slaughter weight and the weaning rate. Emissions from this sector are still projected to account for almost 30% of the total GHGs in 2030, with 12% coming directly from cattle. Considering the high level of methane emissions, combined with the associated deforestation this activity has caused, the agriculture and cattle-ranching sector offers great potential for Argentina to constrain its emissions.
The LULUCF sector is reported as a source of emissions projected to decrease in the future. According to the numbers in the national inventory, Argentinian LULUCF emissions peaked in 2010 at 115 MtCO2, and were responsible for about 26% of Argentina’s total emissions in that year. Deforestation, especially in the Andean Patagonian Forest region, increased significantly between 2000–2010 with the main drivers of this forest clearing being logging, the expansion of agriculture (soy, sugar cane, citrus crops, tea, yerba mate, tobacco) and extensive cattle-ranching. However, these emissions are projected to decrease more than threefold to 37 MtCO2e, about 7% of total emissions, by 2030. Measures specifically targeting the LULUCF sector are the Environmental Protection of the Native Forests and the National Fond for the Enrichment and Conservation of Native Forests as conservation measures to conserve, restore and promote the sustainable management of native forests. Argentina has worked on improving its LULUCF accounting methodology, leading to a change in the sectoral results compared to previous years reports (Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, 2015).
Historical emissions for 1990–2012 were taken from the national GHG inventory of the 3rd National Communication (Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, 2015). The INDC document also provides a historical series of GHG emissions (2005–2012) which are different from those reported in the National Communication in the sense that the numbers in the INDC are higher. The reason for this discrepancy is not clarified in the INDC document, nor in the National Communication. Given that the numbers provided in the National Communication are much more detailed and transparent, we apply these numbers for our calculations.
INDC pledges levels including LULUCF are provided directly in the INDC (Government of Argentina, 2015). However, to distinguish LULUCF emissions from the total GHG emissions and calculate its ratings, the CAT assumes the same LULUCF projections than the ones from the country’s GHG inventory of the 3rd National Communication (Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, 2015).
The BAU scenario, as well as the unconditional and conditional pathways, are taken directly from the INDC (Government of Argentina, 2015).
The CAT current policies scenario for Argentina was developed based on the country’s GHG inventory of the 3rd National Communication (Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, 2015), which uses 2012 as base year. In addition to the policies covered in the aforementioned scenario, the GHG mitigation impacts of the ‘Biofuels Law’ and the new ‘Renewable Energy Law’ were quantified and added to the mitigation potential reported in the current policies scenario of the National Inventory. These policies were published simultaneously or after the 3rd National Communication, therefore, their mitigation impact is unlikely to have been included in the current policies projections they report.
The ‘Biofuels Law’ was adopted in March 2016 and requires a minimum 12% of bioethanol blend in transport fuels starting in 2016.
The new ‘Renewable Energy Law,’ published end of 2015, aims to increase the share of renewables (including hydro smaller than 50 MW) in total power generation to 20% by 2025. One issue that arose in quantifying the impact of Renewable Energy Law no. 27191 is the lack of data on the share of hydro smaller than 50 MW. The World Energy Council (2013) reports that the cumulative capacity of plants smaller than 30 MW is 377 MW (75 plants), while the total hydropower capacity is 10 GW. Based on this, we made a crude assumption that the current cumulative capacity of hydropower plants smaller than 50 MW is around 1 GW and accounts for 10% of total hydropower generation. The abatement potential of these two policies is estimated to be around 10–12 MtCO2e by 2030.
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