October 27, 2021
Logistics and Infrastructure

Environment, Science and Energy Ministries launch Long-Term Climate Strategy that sets out the path to carbon neutrality

Environment, Science and Energy Ministries launch Long-Term Climate Strategy that sets out the path to carbon neutrality
Ministers emphasized that the roadmap “is the path for us to be carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2050 at the latest, as required by science. For this to happen, 407 transitional and transformational targets have been established for all of Chile’s key sectors.”

Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt led the presentation of the Chilean Government’s Long-Term Climate Strategy (Estrategia Climática de Largo Plazo, ECLP). The strategy is a roadmap establishing the objectives and concrete sectorial targets that will allow Chile to become carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2050 at the latest, as required by science in order to cope with the impacts of climate change. 

Minister Schmidt explained that the ECLP “establishes 407 transitional and transformational targets for all of Chile’s key sectors. Targets are being set year by year, in order to achieve our objectives.” She added that “Chile will go to the COP26 Climate Change Conference as the first South American country to comply with the provisions of the Paris Agreement. We will present our Long-Term Climate Strategy, following the recent approval by the Senate of the Framework Law on Climate Change.”

Juan Carlos Jobet, minister responsible for both the Energy and Mining portfolios, stated that “transformation of the energy sector is at the heart of the Long-Term Climate Strategy. We are going to clean up our power generation, eliminating coal-fired plants and developing renewable energies to produce electricity that can be used in different economic sectors like transport and industry, and in our homes.”

Science Minister Andrés Couve commented, “I am proud to be part of something that unites us in the will to move forward with a common purpose. I want to stress the collaboration that has taken place between the three ministries; they have formed a united block, each complementing the others, to achieve unstoppable progress towards meeting the challenges that face us. At the Science Ministry, we have worked from the start to place scientific evidence at the center of climate decisions. Our Scientific Climate Change Committee has been key to this work; it has established a permanent link with the Environment Ministry and actively collaborated in developing this policy.”

The goals

In order to reach carbon neutrality and become a climate resilient country, the ECLP has fixed targets and concrete actions that Chile must undertake to meet these challenges, establishing sectorial priorities, and timeframes in which to fulfil them. There are 407 measures in total.

By 2025, for example, the ECLP aims to eliminate 65% of coal-fired power generation from the national grid; to add between 10,000 and 15,000 hectares of protected urban wetlands, to establish mandatory recyclability ecolabelling, and to provide management plans for 100% of the marine protected areas designated before 2020.

By 2030, the ECLP aims to generate 80% of Chile’s electricity from renewable sources, to increase the network of glacier stations by 50%, to implement zero-emission fleets in large-scale mining, and to provide health services to 100% of the urban population.

By 2040, the ECLP aims to have closed or converted all of Chile’s coal-fired plants, for green hydrogen to make up 20% of the country’s fuel matrix, for 100% of buses, taxis and shared-taxis to be zero-emissions, and to reduce the waste discharged into the sea and onto beaches by 40%.

By 2050, the ECLP aims for Chile’s energy matrix to be 100% zero-emissions, to reduce industry and mining emissions by 70%, and to develop Recovery, Conservation and Management Plans for 30-50% of the country’s endangered species.

Carbon budgets

The ECLP establishes maximum emissions targets for each economic sector, which are necessary to meet the national carbon emissions budget for the period 2020-2030. This is set at 1.1 billion tons of carbon, as promised by Chile in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

The sectorial ministries will be responsible for ensuring that this emissions cap is met. The Transport and Energy Ministries represent the greatest percentage of the budget, with 29% and 26%, respectively. They are followed by Mining (16%), Agriculture (11%), Housing (9%), Health (5%), and Public Works (4%).

This is the first time that concrete sectorial carbon emissions targets have been established in Chile. These targets will become mandatory in 2030 and will be legally binding following approval of the draft of the Framework Law on Climate Change, in order to meet carbon neutrality targets by 2050 at the latest. 

It should be noted that Chile’s updated NDC, presented in 2020, included ambitious targets for the forestry sector by 2030. The ECLP recognizes these carbon-capture targets and establishes carbon emissions limits for high-emitting sectors.

Development process

The ECLP was developed through a highly participative process involving a cross-section of Chilean society. More than 4,000 people participated in more than 100 workshops throughout all of Chile’s regions, and more than 700 formal observations allowed the ECLP to be made considerably more robust.

Support and advice were provided by the Scientific Committee as counterpart to this participative process, via its Nature-Based Solutions Report and the Preliminary Report on the ECLP proposal, which was key to improving the final version.

Other reactions

Virginia Brandon, Resident Representative of the World Bank in Chile:

“It is very important to apply a participative process in policy design, in order to achieve green growth that is truly inclusive. For this reason the World Bank is proud to have supported Chile in making its long-term climate strategy by listening to people and gathering their opinions on how to integrate climate change with development.”

Ewout Sandker, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation in Chile:

“The European Union congratulates Chile on its huge commitment to global climate change and its compliance with the Paris Agreement, demonstrated today in the presentation of its long-term climate strategy with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This goal is shared by the European Union.”