Paris Agreement targets
Colombia submitted an updated NDC in December 2020 (Gobierno de Colombia, 2020c). As part of the update, Colombia increased its mitigation ambition to an absolute emissions limit of 165 Mt CO2e including LULUCF in 2030, equivalent to 51% emissions reduction compared to a business as usual (BAU), including LULUCF. The update is more ambitious than Colombia’s initial NDC, which pledged an unconditional emissions reduction of 20% and a conditional emissions reduction of 30% compared to BAU by 2030. See here for a full comparison of the two NDC submissions.
Colombia revised its BAU scenario to reflect the estimated 5% economic contraction from the COVID-19 crisis (Gobierno de Colombia, 2020c), but this resulted in only small changes to the BAU emissions projections through 2030.
According to Colombia’s NDC, emissions will peak in the period between 2027-2030, with the agriculture, forestry and land-use (AFOLU) sector taking centre stage in the NDC’s outlined mitigation measures. Reducing deforestation and forest restoration are the two mitigation measures listed in the updated NDC with the greatest estimated potential emissions reduction. Land-based mitigation measures alone account for about 70% of the overall mitigation potential outlined in the NDC, which, if fully implemented, would turn Colombia’s land sector from a current net source of emissions to a net sink. Excluding the land sector (LULUCF), the CAT calculates the NDC target to be 154 -188 Mt CO2e in 2030.
Colombia’s NDC target is unconditional, meaning Colombia plans to implement its NDC using its own resources. We rate this target against what a fair contribution from Colombia would be towards meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit (its ‘fair share target’) as “Insufficient”.
Colombia has not put forward a target conditional on receiving international support. 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 (the “international support gap” in the graphic above). In addition to strengthening its “Insufficient” unconditional NDC target, Colombia should also put forward a conditional target to achieve even greater emissions cuts with international support.
As Colombia has not put forward a conditional target (“internationally supported 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”.
 Stated target is 169,44 Mt CO2e in AR5 GWP; 165 is the limit converted to AR4 GWP
Colombia has not put forward a conditional target and so we rate its unconditional target against modelled domestic pathways and find it to be “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”.
Improvement the transparency of the target alone with not be enough. Colombia should put forward a stronger conditional target.
In addition to being inconsistent with a 1.5°C pathway when compared to modelled domestic pathways, Colombia’s unconditional mitigation target is also inconsistent with a 1.5°C pathway when compared to their fair share contribution.
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.
Further information on how the CAT rates countries (against modelled pathways and fair share) can be found here.
Last NDC update
Colombia’s updated NDC, submitted in December 2020, is more ambitious than the previous one, improving on both the strength and architecture of the target. The updated NDC is 6-22% stronger than the first NDC, but it relies heavily on reductions in LULUCF, with inadequate policies in place to tackle emissions from the energy and transport sectors as high users of fossil fuels - nor a phase-out of coal, which is particularly important for the world’s fifth largest coal exporter. Colombia has improved the type of target - from a reduction compared to BAU - to setting an absolute cap on emissions in 2030.
More information and analysis on Colombia’s updated NDC can be found on the CAT’s Climate Target Update Tracker page for Colombia.
Net zero and other long-term target(s)
Colombia has announced its intent to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. However, a concrete strategy for meeting this goal and specific details regarding sector included in the target is not yet available. Under the updated NDC, Colombia also indicated its “intent” to reach “carbon neutrality” by 2050, although an official pledge and accompanying strategy has not yet been submitted to the UNFCCC nor reflected in national legislation.
We evaluate Colombia’s net zero target as “Target information incomplete”. For the full analysis click here.
Colombia did not submit concrete emission reduction targets for 2020 under the Copenhagen Accord. Instead it set a unilateral target to achieve 77% of its electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020 along with two targets dependent on financial support from Annex I parties: zero deforestation in the Colombian Amazon and a share or 20% biofuels in the country’s total liquid fuel use by 2020 (Bermúdez Merizalde, 2010).