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Ambition gap

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

1.5°C compatible pathways

Chile’s conditional NDC targets 61-91 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030 (or a 19-45% emissions reduction below 2016 levels). While the lower boundary (61 MtCO₂e/yr) is compatible with 1.5°C compatible pathways, the higher end would not put the country on a Paris Agreement compatible trajectory, representing an ambition gap of 24-51 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030.

To be on track with 1.5°C pathways, Chile would need to emit 40-67 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, which is 40-64% below 2016 levels when excluding LULUCF sinks. In all scenarios GHG emissions should have peaked by 2020 at the latest. However, Chile is aiming to reach peak emissions in 2025.

Steeper emissions reductions are required to remain aligned with 1.5°C pathways. Some of the most effective measures for rapid emission reductions would be more aggressive substitution of fossil fuels with renewable energy, and earlier coal and gas phase out dates.

Long term pathway

In 2050 our analysed policy scenarios show that Chile would emit within a range of 8-20 MtCO₂e, depending on the scenario. Chile has announced its aim to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050, relying on an estimated land carbon sink of -65 MtCO₂e/yr.6 However, Paris compatible pathways show that Chile would need to emit no more than 14 MtCO₂e/yr excluding LULUCF by 2050. Remaining emissions in 2050 will mainly come from agriculture and waste and would need to be compensated through the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches to the corresponding level of -14 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050.12

1 Climate Action Tracker. CAT Climate Target Update Tracker. (2020).

2 Government of Chile. Chile’s Nationally Determined Contribution – Update 2020. (2020).

3 Ministerio de Energía. Energía 2050: Política Energética de Chile. (2015).

4 PIK. PRIMAP: Paris-Reality Check, Chile. (2016).

5 Gobierno de Chile. Ley de Cambio Climático de Chile. (2021).

6 Ministerio de Energia del Gobierno de Chile. NDC y Plan de Carbono Neutralidad 2050. (2020).

7 International Energy Agency. Country Profile: Chile. (2019).

8 S&P Global Platts. Chile lifts coal imports, but limited by rising natural gas supplies | S&P Global Platts. (2019).

9 Gobierno de of Chile. Presidente Piñera presentó plan para cerrar todas las centrales energéticas a carbón para que Chile sea carbono neutral. 4 de Junio (2019).

10 EBP Chile. Estudio de Movilidad Eléctrica en Chile. (2018).

11 La Tercera. El plan que busca convertir a Chile en el segundo país con más buses eléctricos del mundo. Electricidad. La revista energetica de Chile. (2018).

12 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.

Methodology

Chileʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
−150%−100%−50%0%19902010203020502070
Net zero GHG excl. LULUCF*
2057
Reference year
2016
1.5°C emissions level
−42%
NDC (conditional)
−45%
NDC (unconditional)
−14%
Ambition gap
+3%
  • 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 (conditional)
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 2016
110MtCO₂e/yr

Energy system transformation

Chile’s primary energy mix is currently dominated by fossil fuels at around 70% in 2017. This will need to approximately halve by 2030, with some 1.5°C pathways showing a fossil fuel share of less than 5% remaining in 2040.

Different approaches could be taken to decarbonise the energy mix: the extensive deployment of renewable energy to achieve 100% renewables and avoid the need for carbon dioxide removals (CDR) and nuclear, or a lower penetration of renewable energy, which would require an increasing use of CDR technologies to compensate emissions from remaining fossil fuels.

A close to 100% share of renewable energies by 2050, would mean increasing its share of Chile’s energy mix to 46-53% in 2030. A lower penetration of renewable energy would result in a higher dependence on CDR, which could reach up to 80% when not considering non-energy fossil fuel demand.

Methodology

Chileʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

Scaling
SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020502 0003 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020502 0003 000
Low Energy Demand
20192030204020502 0003 000
High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020502 0003 000
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Renewables incl. Biomass
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS

Chileʼs total CO₂ emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂/yr

−5005010019902010203020502070
  • 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 Chile. 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
Indicator
2016
Reference year
2019
2030
2040
2050
Year of net zero GHG
incl. BECCS excl. LULUCF and novel CDR
Total GHG
Megatonnes CO₂ equivalent per year
110
113
64
52 to 71
29
12 to 36
11
4 to 19
2057
2052
Relative to reference year in %
−42%
−53 to −36%
−74%
−89 to −67%
−90%
−96 to −83%
Total CO₂
MtCO₂/yr
86
88
50
32 to 55
14
−7 to 23
−2
−9 to 3
2049
2038 to 2062
Relative to reference year in %
−42%
−63 to −37%
−83%
−108 to −73%
−103%
−111 to −96%

Footnotes