Paris Agreement targets
Chile’s submitted its updated 2020 NDC to the UNFCCC in April 2020 (Government of Chile, 2020a). It includes two emissions reduction targets for 2030:
This target includes three components:
- Absolute target of 95 MtCO2e in 2030, excl. emissions or removals from the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector
- GHG emissions budget of 1,100 MtCO2e between 2020 and 2030
- The peak year for GHG emissions is 2025
Three targets for the LULUCF sector:
- Sustainable management and recovery of 200,000 hectares of native forest, equivalent to GHG emissions capture between 0.9 and 1.2 MtCO2e/year by 2030
- Reforestation of 200,000 hectares of forest, from which at least half correspond to permanent forest coverage, from which at least 70,000 hectares should be native species. This is equivalent to GHG emissions capture between 3 and 3.4 MtCO2e/year by 2030
- Reduce emissions from deforestation and land degradation of native forest by 25% by 2030 compared to average emissions between 2001-2013
According to our calculations, by implementing all its planned policies, Chile could peak its emissions in 2023 ─ two years earlier than the proposed peak year of 2025 ─ which would be a remarkable achievement and set up the country as a frontrunner on climate action. Under this scenario the “GHG emissions budget” between 2020 and 2030 would be in line with the “GHG emissions budget” presented in the 2020 NDC, ranging between 1049 MtCO2e and 1167 MtCO2e, but could be up to 14% lower if all planned policies were implemented.
- Conditional on international finance: Reduction of up to 45% net GHG emissions (i.e. incl. LULUCF) from 2016 levels, by 2030. Depending on the expected contribution of the LULUCF sector for this target (i.e. share of CO2 removals), this target could reduce emissions excluding LULUCF to between 95 MtCO2e and 88 MtCO2e.
The 2020 NDC links the 2030 target to the long-term goal for GHG neutrality by 2050, as well as to planning processes involving governance, existing and future strategies including the “Long-term Climate Strategy 2050.” According to the NDC text, the current NDC planning and update process should allow for the NDC and its consecutive iterations to be intermediate milestones to achieve the 2050 neutrality goal, i.e. taking into account the necessary measures to reach this (Government of Chile, 2020a).
It also includes a target to reduce black carbon emissions by at least 25% by 2030 below 2016 emission levels.
Black Carbon and Chile’s NDC
Chile’s 2020 NDC update includes a target to reduce black carbon emissions, which has substantial co-benefits for human health. However, reductions in black carbon are generally not additional to those leading to reductions in CO2, because large fractions of black carbon emissions stem from the same emission sources as CO2. Emission reduction policies therefore often reduce CO2 and black carbon simultaneously, and this is already included in calculations of the emissions reductions required to hold warming well below 2°C globally, like the “emissions gap” and “fair share” reductions (see next section on Fair Share).
In its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), the IPCC does not provide calculations of Global Warming Potential for black carbon comparable to those provided for greenhouse gases, merely noting the inherent difficulties in doing so and limiting itself to displaying estimates from the pre-AR5 literature.
The CAT rates Chile’s domestic target as “Almost insufficient” and its fair share target as “Insufficient”.
We rate Chile’s 2030 internationally supported target– a reduction of up to 45% in net emissions by 2030, subject to international support– as “Almost sufficient” when compared with modelled domestic emissions pathways. The “Almost sufficient” rating indicates that Chile’s domestic target in 2030 is not yet consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit but could be, with moderate improvements. If all countries were to follow Chile’s approach, warming could be held below—but not well below—2°C. To improve its rating and be consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit, Chile could increase the ambition of their conditional 2030 climate target equivalent to an absolute emissions limit of 69 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF in 2030 and, if necessary, outline the international support that it would need to achieve it.
Our methods do not provide a clear answer for the need for climate finance for Chile. 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.
We rate Chile’s 2030 unconditional reduction target as “Insufficient” when compared to its fair-share contribution to climate action.
The “Insufficient” rating indicates that Chile’s fair share target in 2030 needs substantial improvements to be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. Chile’s target is at the least stringent end of what would be a fair share of global effort and is not consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit unless other countries make much deeper reductions and comparably greater effort. If all countries were to follow Chile’s approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
Further information on how the CAT rates countries (against modelled pathways and fair share) can be found here.
Last NDC update
On 9 April 2020, the Chilean Government officially released its updated NDC (Government of Chile, 2020a), which is more ambitious than its first NDC submitted to the UNFCCC in 2017 and also slightly more ambitious than an earlier draft NDC of 2019. However, its projected emissions still fall in the ‘Insufficient’ CAT range. Chile needs to go even further if it aims to become compatible with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5° limit.
The updated NDC is stronger in various ways:
- It has a target of 95 MtCO2e in 2030, which is 2 MtCO2e lower than the 2019 draft NDC and significantly lower than the emissions that would have resulted from the 2017 unconditional target (131 MtCO2e);
- It includes an updated goal to peak GHG emissions by 2025, two years earlier than the previous draft;
- It includes an updated GHG emissions budget until 2030, which is smaller than the original draft.
Chile’s Minister of the Environment, Carolina Schmidt, stated that ‘once the country overcomes the corona crisis, they will enter a rehabilitation phase which must be sustainable’, highlighting that the Chilean government recognises the importance of green economic recovery packages (John Bartlett, 2020).
Net zero and other long-term target(s)
Chile announced its net zero target for 2050 as proposed legislation in the Framework Law on Climate Change in 2020 (President of Chile, 2020) and included it in the updated NDC submitted to the UNFCCC the same year (Government of Chile, 2020b). The law remains under discussion in the National Congress as of October 2021. The long-term goals of the current draft bill should be achieved by the implementation of two equally relevant lines of action: i) reaching a sustained decrease in GHG emissions; and ii) increasing and maintaining natural carbon sinks. If approved, this bill would enshrine Chile’s 2050 GHG emissions neutrality target into legislation.
The proposed net zero target covers most key elements. Chile’s target covers all sectors and gases, communicates strategic goals and emissions targets per sector, and provides a detailed methodological framework. Notably, Chile underpins these sector-specific ambitions with detailed emissions pathway analyses. While Chile does not actively outline any plans to rely on reductions and removals outside its borders, future iteration of its NDC could explicitly rule out international credits.
Chile could further improve its net zero target by considering good practice standards for a few elements. Chile provides no information on its intention to establish a periodic reviewing cycle of measures and interim targets. In addition, Chile could further include international aviation and shipping in their target’s scope, and explicitly elaborate on fairness considerations.
A study from both the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Environment indicates that LULUCF sinks are expected to contribute 50% of the emissions reductions needed to achieve the 2050 GHG neutrality target (Ministerio de Energía, 2020b). This can pose a risk, given the high chances of carbon loss through deforestation or natural disturbance and eventual competition for land. Despite significantly relying on forestry sinks, we estimate 2050 emissions would be consistent with the CAT rating category of 2°C Paris Agreement-compatible for Chile.
For the full analysis click here.
Chile proposed to undertake NAMAs to reach an emissions reduction of 20% below BAU including LULUCF in 2020 (as projected from 2007). We estimate this is as an absolute pledged emissions level of 122 MtCO2e in 2020, excluding emissions and sinks from LULUCF. This is equivalent to an increase of 134% from 1990 GHG emissions levels, excluding LULUCF.
Chile has overachieved this target by 11% as its emissions in 2020 were estimated as 109 MtCO2e.