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Current situation

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

Emissions profile

The majority of Argentina’s emissions come from the combustion of oil and natural gas in the energy sector, with total energy sector emissions accounting for 52% of Argentina’s total emissions. The power and transport sectors are responsible for most energy-related emissions, with each responsible for a 13% share.1 After the energy sector, agriculture is the second highest emitting sector in the country, accounting for 30% of 2016 emissions. Argentina is a major beef exporter and livestock is responsible for the majority of agricultural emissions (mainly methane), accounting for 21% of 2016 total emissions.1 Current post-COVID policy projections show that the country is on track to reach anywhere between 429-438 MtCO2e by 2030, depending on the degree to which renewable energy is scaled up and subsidies for natural gas are phased out.

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).

4 Climate Transparency. BROWN TO GREEN: THE G20 TRANSITION TOWARDS A NET-ZERO EMISSIONS ECONOMY: Argentina. (2019).

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 current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Transport
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Power
  • Buildings
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Other
  • Agriculture
  • LULUCF
  • Industry (processes)
  • Waste
Energy (52%)0

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
061%0

Sectors by gas

Energy
095%0
Agriculture
061%0
Industry (processes)
071%0

Energy system

Despite the competitive cost of solar and wind technology, Argentina has continued to favour natural gas and nuclear use in its power sector. However, these technologies do not reliably or rapidly reduce emissions, nor do they avoid the use of non-renewable resources. Investments need to be redirected towards renewables in order to avoid stranded assets and additional emissions. The most recent data from 2018 shows that renewable energy made up about 13% of Argentina’s total energy supply and only 36% of its power supply.3,4 Argentina’s once abundant natural gas fields have begun to run dry and become unprofitable since 2019, increasing the urgency for renewable energy in the country to avoid stranded assets. The volatility of the COVID-19 pandemic further put a spotlight on the frailty of Argentina’s fossil fuel dependence and infrastructure. To avoid the need for excessive negative emissions in the future, Argentina’s proportion of renewable energy production will need to increase. The government is also developing plans for incentivising the use of electric vehicles to replace fossil fuels in the country, but implementation of this policy is slow.5 Meanwhile, the agriculture sector lacks any clear policy framework for emissions reductions.5

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Fixed level target

NDC target

Unconditional target:

  • Absolute emissions target of 313 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).16
  • 8% below 2015 levels by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).

Market mechanism

  • No carbon credit mechanism nationally established, waiting for the finalisation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement for further guidance.1

Long-term target

  • Established the goal of reaching carbon neutrality (or net zero CO₂ emissions) in their long-term strategy (LTS) and in their updated NDC (2020).1

Sector coverage

EnergyIndustryWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄NF₃HFCsN₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Energy

  • The National Action Plan for Energy and Climate Change (PNAECC) aims to mitigate a minimum of 77 MtCO₂e by 2030, contributing to Argentina’s NDC. Although it includes removing coal from the energy supply, overall fossil fuel use decreases by only 5% in 2030, from 31% to 26%, due to continued reliance on natural gas.6
  • The PNAECC sets a target for non-hydro renewables of 10% of energy supply by 2030.
  • If additional potential mitigation measures outlined in the PNAECC are added, 101 MtCO₂e could be mitigated by 2030.

Buildings

  • Efficient Public Lighting Plan (PLAE), launched in 2017, aims to reduce emissions from street lighting by 50%.5

Waste

  • Increase the percentage of recycled materials nationally from 5% to 20% by 2030.9

Agriculture

  • The National Action Plan for Agricultural and Climate Change (2019) sets a sectoral mitigation target of roughly 26 MtCO₂e by 2030 (including forests).10
  • The plan also calls for additional mitigation to come from the enlargement of cultivated area for corn and wheat instead of soy and providing biomass for combustion in power production.10

Power

  • The PNAECC aims for up to 69% of power supply in 2030 generated from low emission sources, including hydropower, non-hydro renewables, nuclear and thermal generation.6
  • Law 27.191, established in 2015, sets a target to reach 20% of power generated by non-hydro renewable sources, such as solar and wind by 2025, and includes financial and market mechanisms to facilitate its upscaling.7
  • The PNAECC indicates that most oil and coal used in power generation would be substituted by natural gas.

Transport

  • The National Plan for Mitigation of the Transport sector (PNMT), authored in 2017, plans for a total reduction of emissions from transport of 47 MtCO₂ by 2030 through combination of low emission vehicles, the promotion of public transport, renovation of truck fleets and the promotion of non-motorised transportation.8
  • Decree 331/2017 from the National Executive Power reduced tariffs on the import of 6000 electric vehicles over three years (2017-2020).8
  • Many transport targets are focused on the city of Buenos Aires, where almost one-third of the population resides. It has a city-wide target of 1.5% of private cars being zero emission vehicles and 30% of buses being electric by 2030.

LULUCF

  • National Plan for the Restoration of Native Forests (Resolution 267/2019) aims to restore 20 million hectares of native forest per year through 2030.5
  • The Native Forests Law aims at controlling the reduction of native forest surface by achieving net zero change in forest areas.11,12
  • Increase the overall forested area from 1.38 million hectares in 2018 to 2 million hectares by 2030.9

Footnotes