NOTE: This update covers only the Climate Action Tracker's analysis of Colombia's net zero target. We will provide a full update by COP27.
Colombia needs stronger action to cut emissions across the board. It adopted a stronger target in its NDC update, but that did not go far enough. Overall, the CAT rates Colombia’s climate targets and policies as “Highly insufficient”.
Reducing emissions from deforestation is a vital part of Colombia’s climate action, but in order to fully decarbonise its economy, Colombia will also need to focus on other sectors, especially energy and transport.
Colombia updated its NDC target in December 2020. It intends to rely on land-based mitigation measures for approximately 70% of the reductions needed for its updated target, despite the fact that deforestation levels in the country continue to rise and current forest protection policies are not adequately enforced.
While Colombia does have mitigation targets for energy and transport, further action is needed. Its first renewable energy auction occurred in 2019, awarding 2200 MW of new capacity and putting the country on track to exceed its 1500 MW new renewable capacity target by 2022.
The Colombian Ministry of Energy signed an agreement with eight energy companies to reach carbon neutrality in Colombia’s electricity sector by 2050, though this is likely not fast enough to be Paris compatible. Colombia, which still depends on coal for roughly 10% of its power supply, has yet to announce a coal phase-out strategy. In Latin America, coal power generation would need to be reduced by 85% by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels), leading to a phase-out by 2032 to be Paris compatible.
Colombia’s pandemic recovery package sends mixed signals on its energy future, with support for both new renewables and coal. President Iván Duque still gave fossil fuels priority in a recent report on Colombia’s energy transition and the government recently gave approval to new fracking projects. The situation may change next year, after the Presidential election in May 2022, as Colombian Presidents are constitutionally limited to one term in office.
The Colombian coal sector is facing uncertainty as pressure mounts for firms to decarbonise foreign investments. Glencore, the world’s largest exporter of thermal coal, recently announced its withdrawal from mining rights in Colombia and major Japanese trading houses have reduced their shares held in coal companies operating in the country. The global push towards decarbonisation risks leaving Colombia with stranded assets and missed economic opportunities.
Colombia has an EV target of 600,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030. We estimate it will only be 1% of the way towards that goal by the end of 2021. 100% of global passenger vehicle sales need to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 to be Paris compatible.
The CAT gives Colombia’s climate targets and policies an overall rating of “Highly insufficient”. The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Colombia’s climate policies and commitments are not consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit and lead to rising, rather than falling, emissions. Colombia’s NDC target is consistent with 4°C of warming when compared to modelled emissions pathways and 3°C of warming when compared to its fair share contribution.
Improving the transparency of this target and the extent to which the country intends to use its land sector to meet its mitigation commitments could improve some of its CAT ratings by one level, but deeper cuts are needed for 1.5°C compatible. Colombia should strengthen its unconditional target and put forward an even more ambitious target conditional on international support. If fully implemented, Colombia will not meet its NDC target with the policies and action currently in place, though its planned policies may just meet the target. Colombia will need to implement additional policies using its own resources, but will also need international support to implement further policies in line with full decarbonisation.
Colombia’s current policies and action are not 1.5°C compatible when compared to its fair-share contribution. Under current policy projections, Colombia’s 2030 emissions are likely to fall between 204 -211 Mt CO2e, which is far above its fair share contribution of 139 Mt CO2e in 2030 for a 1.5°C consistent pathway. In other words, Colombia’s emissions will be about 50% higher than where they need to be in 2030 to be 1.5°C compatible.
Even with additional planned policies implemented, Colombia’s emissions would still likely reach between 187-193 Mt CO2e in 2030, about 35-40% above the 1.5°C limit. This is including the impact to current and planned policies from the economic recession caused by COVID-19.
Excluding land use, energy is Colombia’s second largest emitting sector. However, despite Colombia’s high proportion of energy-related emissions, its mitigation goals for the energy sector are very weak compared to other sectors. Many of its stated mitigation measures have not yet been implemented and can therefore only be calculated as part of Colombia’s planned policies rather than current. We therefore rate Colombia’s policies and action as “Insufficient”.
The “Insufficient” rating indicates that Colombia’s climate policies and action in 2030 need substantial improvements to be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Colombia’s approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
Colombia will need to implement additional policies using its own resources, but will also need international support to implement further policies in line with full decarbonisation. For more on Colombia's policies and action, click here.
Colombia has not put forward a target conditional on receiving international support (“internationally supported target”). 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.
As Colombia has not put forward a conditional target, we assess its unconditional NDC target against modelled domestic pathways, i.e. what would need to happen within Colombia’s borders to be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s temperature limit. Against that framework, the unconditional NDC target rates it as “Highly insufficient”.
The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Colombia’s target in 2030 leads to rising, rather than falling, emissions and is not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Colombia’s approach, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C.
CAT ratings are based on the top end of the target range. For Colombia, the target range is due to uncertainty on the extent to which Colombia intends to rely on land sector emissions to meet its target. The top end of the target range falls just inside the boundary for the “Highly insufficient” rating. Greater clarity on the extent to which Colombia intends to rely on the land sector in achieving its target may help in improving its rating. If Colombia’s “internationally supported target” was rated as “Insufficient”, its overall rating would also improve to “Insufficient”.
Colombia’s unconditional mitigation target is also inconsistent with a 1.5°C pathway when compared to its fair share contribution (“fair share target”). In order to achieve its fair share contribution under the Paris Agreement, Colombia would need to reach absolute emissions of at or below 139 Mt CO2e in 2030.
We estimate Colombia’s unconditional domestic target to be between 154-188 Mt CO2e by 2030 (excl. LULUCF). The range depends on the extent to which the land sector will be relied upon in achieving its target. The CAT rates the upper end of a target range, which is “Insufficient”.
The “Insufficient” rating indicates that Colombia’s fair share target in 2030 needs substantial improvements to be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. Colombia’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 Colombia’s approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
The bottom end of its target range falls into the “Almost sufficient” category. Greater clarity on the extent to which Colombia intends to rely on the land sector in achieving its target may help in improving its rating, though further strengthening beyond this greater transparency is also needed.
Overall, Colombia should strengthen its unconditional target and put forward a conditional target with even deeper emissions cuts with international support.
Colombia’s emissions from land use are more than 20% of the country’s total emissions and reducing emissions from deforestation is a vital part of Colombia’s climate mitigation target. Land-based mitigation measures account for approximately 70% of the total mitigation capacity outlined in its updated NDC (2020) which, if fully implemented, would turn Colombia’s land sector from a current net source of emissions to a net sink.
In December 2021, through Law No. 2169, Colombia promoted the country's low-carbon development through the establishment of minimum targets and measures for carbon neutrality and climate resilience.
In November 2021, Colombia submitted a 2050 net zero GHG emissions target as National Long Term Strategy (E2050) to the UNFCCC. The Strategy includes different scenarios and pathways and outlines 9 strategic initiatives with 48 transformation options for decision-makers to consider. We evaluate Colombia’s net zero target as “Acceptable”.
The full net zero target analysis can be found here.