Skip to content

Ambition gap

What is Argentinaʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

1.5°C compatible pathways

In its updated NDC submitted in December 2020, Argentina set an absolute emissions target of 313 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF) by 2030. This is equivalent to reducing emissions by 9% below 2015 levels. To align with a 1.5°C trajectory, Argentina would need to have reduced emissions in 2030 by 35% to 47% compared to 2015 levels. This translates to absolute emissions of 184-224 MtCO₂e in 2030 excluding LULUCF. Argentina’s current 2030 ambition is not yet consistent with these pathways, and achieving its net zero CO₂ emissions target by 2050 is unlikely without a significant policy change.

Long term pathway

So far, Argentina has only announced their intent to reach carbon neutrality (net zero CO₂) in 2050, but has not yet provided details of how it will reach this goal nor intermediate targets to get there.1,2

In the long term, in order to be compatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C, total GHG emissions in Argentina excluding LULUCF would need to be reduced to 78% (77-82%) below 2015 levels by 2050, or 75 (62-78) MtCO₂e (excl. LULUCF) by 2050.15

Remaining emissions will need to be balanced by the use of carbon dioxide removal approaches, such as through the land sector. Given that LULUCF emissions are a current source of emissions in the country, Argentina will need to implement stronger policies to reduce its land use emissions and become a carbon sink to reach net zero GHG.

A rapid drop in CO₂ emissions would need to come from the energy sector, as the largest emitter overall of CO₂ in the country. Agriculture, the second highest emitting source of non-CO₂ GHGs, would be the last sector to decarbonise after 2050. Reductions in this sector, as well as enhancing natural sinks, particularly as LULUCF is a source of emissions in Argentina, would help to reach net zero GHG emissions by mid-century.

1 Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible Argentina. Segunda Contribución Determinada a Nivel Nacional de la República Argentina. (UNFCCC, 2020).

2 Climate Action Tracker. Climate Target Update Tracker: Argentina. (2020).

3 International Energy Agency (IEA). Argentina Country Profile. (2018).


5 Climate Action Tracker. Argentina: Current Policy Projections. (2020).

6 Ministry of Energy of Argentina. National Action Plan on Energy and Climate Change [Plan de Acción Nacional de Energía y Cambio Climático]. (Ministry of Energy of Argentina [Ministerio de Energía de Argentina], 2017).

7 El Senado y Cámara de Diputados de la Nación Argentina. Ley 27191: Régimen de Fomento Nacional para el uso de Fuentes Renovables de Energía destinada a la Producción de Energía Eléctrica. Modificación Ley 26190. (El Senado y Cámara de Diputados de la Nación Argentina, 2015).

8 Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible. Plan Nacional de Mitigación del sector Transporte – PNMT. 1–83 (2017).

9 Secretaria de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable Argentina. Listado de medidas de mitigación y adaptación a nivel nacional (Contribución Nacional ) Febrero 2019. (2019).

10 República de Argentina. Plan de Acción Nacional de Agro y Cambio Climático. (2019).

11 Climate Action Tracker. Argentina | July 2020 Update.

12 Congreso de la Nación Argentina. Ley 26.331: LEY DE PRESUPUESTOS MINIMOS DE PROTECCION AMBIENTAL DE LOS BOSQUES NATIVOS. (El Senado y Cámara de Diputados de la Nación Argentina, 2007).

13 Bauza, V. A New Dawn: Argentina Taps Into Its Renewable Energy Potential. International Finance Corporation (2017).

14 Caruana, M. E. C. La energía renovable en Argentina como estrategia de política energética e industrial. Probl. del Desarollo 50, (2019).

15 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches.

16 This target is in AR4 GWP; Argentina originally expressed their NDC target in SAR GWP of 359 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF.


Argentinaʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
NDC (unconditional)
Ambition gap
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
2030 emissions levels
Current policy projections
NDC (unconditional)
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 2015

Energy system transformation

Switching from an energy supply dominated by oil and gas to one with higher shares or renewables, including wind, solar and biomass, will be key for Argentina’s energy system transformation. The amount of renewable energy used in future energy supply is inversely related to the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies such as BECCS or DACS. These technologies are unlikely to be implemented in Argentina given the potential of land-based sinks. Scenarios with higher adoption of renewables by 2030 are able to rely far less on CDR. A lower adoption of renewables makes these technologies a necessity. Scenarios that effectively reduce overall energy demand require less use of negative emissions technologies. While a target of 20% renewable power by 2025 has been set, concrete targets for the whole energy sector, or for phasing out fossil fuels have not been established.13,14


Argentinaʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020504 000
Low Energy Demand
20192030204020504 000
High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 000
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Renewables incl. Biomass
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS

Argentinaʼs total CO₂ emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂/yr

  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Historical emissions

1.5°C compatible emissions benchmarks

Key emissions benchmarks of Paris compatible Pathways for Argentina. The 1.5°C compatible range is based on the Paris Agreement compatible pathways from the IPCC SR1.5 filtered with sustainability criteria. The median (50th percentile) to 5th percentile and middle of the range are provided here. Relative reductions are provided based on the reference year.

Reference year
Reference year
Year of net zero GHG
incl. BECCS excl. LULUCF and novel CDR
Total GHG
Megatonnes CO₂ equivalent per year
181 to 248
99 to 143
59 to 96
Relative to reference year in %
−47 to −28%
−71 to −58%
−83 to −72%
Total CO₂
74 to 128
−12 to 56
−19 to 5
2039 to 2064
Relative to reference year in %
−63 to −37%
−106 to −72%
−109 to −98%