Argentina submitted an updated NDC in December 2021 that sets a new, unconditional target that is only a marginal improvement on the previous iteration. In November 2022, Argentina submitted its long-promised Long Term Strategy (LTS), confirming its 2050 net zero target.
Argentina’s new target only achieves an “Insufficient” rating when compared to required domestic efforts, and a “Highly insufficient” rating when compared to Argentina’s fair share contribution to global climate change mitigation. Overall, CAT rates Argentina’s climate targets and policies as “Highly insufficient”.
In 2021, emissions in Argentina rebounded back to 2019 levels after a steep drop in 2020 due to COVID-19. Emissions (excl. LULUCF) are still projected to grow significantly after 2021, which means Argentina will miss its NDC target by a large margin.
Recently, Argentina has centred its energy sector strategy around fossil fuels. For example, in 2022 the government fast-tracked a previously mothballed project to build a pipeline connecting Vaca Muerta with the national gas network to enable a substantial ramp-up of production.
Additionally, it is planning to start offshore oil exploration off the coast of Buenos Aires. The first explorations will be led by YPF with Shell and Equinor and will start in 2023. They expect to find up to 1 billion barrels of oil, adding to the current reserve of 2.5 billion.
These developments will most likely impact total emissions in the country through increases in fugitive emissions, as well as creating a lock-in of fossil infrastructure and disincentives for a deeper transformation of the energy sector. While their impact on total energy consumption is uncertain, it is possible that increased domestic production of fossil fuels will lead to higher consumption.
Along with the focus on fossil fuels, there has been a deprioritisation of renewables in favour of nuclear power. For example, the design and timeline of the next renewable auction round, RenovAr 4, has not been defined and seems to be a low priority for the government. In July 2022, as part of its nuclear plan, the government announced a deal with Chinese manufacturers to start the construction of a new nuclear plant before the end of 2022, and plans for the development of an additional plant.
In 2018, agricultural emissions in Argentina accounted for roughly one third of its total emissions. 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.
To be consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C temperature limit, Argentina would need to develop substantially more ambitious policies, especially to develop renewable energy, stop deforestation, and reduce livestock-related emissions.
The CAT rates Argentina’s climate targets and policies together as “Highly insufficient”. This means that Argentina’s climate policies and commitments are far from consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit.
We rate Argentina’s 2030 climate target “Insufficient” when compared to modelled domestic emissions pathways and “Highly insufficient” when compared with its fair share contribution to climate action.
Argentina’s policies and actions are also rated as “Insufficient” when compared to modelled domestic emissions pathways as they lead to rising, rather than falling, emissions. To achieve its target, Argentina would need to enhance its current policies which are currently only compatible with 2 to 3°C of warming.
Overall, Argentina’s climate targets and policies are not stringent enough to limit warming to 1.5°C and need substantial improvements.
We rate Argentina’s policies and actions as “Insufficient” when compared to modelled domestic emissions pathways. The “Insufficient” rating indicates that Argentina’s climate policies and action in 2030 need substantial improvements to be consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Argentina’s approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
Argentina’s policies and action rating has improved compared to CAT’s last assessment. This change is due to revised GDP growth forecasts for the country, reflecting both the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Argentina’s ongoing economic crisis.
As a response to rising international fossil fuel prices, the government has turned its attention to increasing domestic production of oil and gas. While production of shale oil and gas has reached its highest level in Argentina since 2011, further increases are limited due to the lack of transport infrastructure. To solve this, the government has fast-tracked existing plans to build a 558 km pipeline connecting the Vaca Muerta gas field with the national gas network. This has the potential to impact Argentina’s progress towards reaching its climate targets through higher upstream energy emissions as well as lock-in effects from fossil fuel infrastructure.
In an attempt to reduce the fiscal deficit, the government has also decided to update electricity and gas tariffs, which had been frozen since the new administration took office in December 2019. In July 2022, a new subsidy scheme aimed at reducing public spending on energy tariffs was implemented. This decision faced pushback from some political sectors for its socioeconomic implications in the midst of Argentina’s economic crisis.
The full policies and action analysis can be found here.
We rate Argentina’s unconditional climate target of “not exceeding the net emission of 349 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030” from its November 2021 updated NDC as “Insufficient” when compared with modelled domestic emissions pathways. We refer to this as Argentina’s “NDC target against modelled domestic pathways”, or what they will do within their own territory. The “Insufficient” rating is associated with global temperature rise over 2°C and up to 3°C by end of the century and indicates that Argentina’s NDC target in 2030 needs substantial improvements to be consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit.
Argentina’s NDC target compared to modelled domestic pathways is close to the “Almost sufficient” rating. If Argentina would reduce its target by 14 MtCO2eq, it would receive an “Almost sufficient” rating.
Whether Argentina should receive some climate finance from abroad to reduce its emissions is a matter of debate. Our methods do not provide a clear answer to this question. On balance, the CAT methodology shows that provision of a small but important amount of international support is consistent with the wide range of literature on fair share contributions to meeting the Paris Agreement's goals. However, that literature does not reflect recent economic developments in Argentina and we consider it unlikely that Argentina is in a position to provide support. In any case, Argentina’s NDC target achieved with own resources (fair share target) would still need to be increased significantly to be in line with the 1.5°C limit.
We rate Argentina’s unconditional 2030 climate target from November 2021 as “Highly insufficient” when compared with its fair-share contribution to climate action. We refer to this as Argentina’s “NDC target against fair share”. The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Argentina’s climate target is not at all consistent with any interpretation of a fair-share contribution within the 1.5°C temperature limit.
Argentina’s average share of emissions from Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) over the past 20 years is more than 20% of the country’s total emissions. Argentina should work toward reducing emissions from LULUCF, particularly reducing deforestation and preserving and enhancing land sinks. For more information about forestry activities in Argentina, please see the policies and action section.
In November 2022, Argentina submitted a long-term strategy (LTS) to the UNFCCC that includes a target to reach GHG neutrality by 2050 (Government of Argentina, 2022a). Argentina has previously announced its aim to set a net zero CO2 target (“carbon neutrality”) by 2050 in its second NDC submitted in 2020 (Government of Argentina, 2020b).