In its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) from December 2020, Colombia pledges unconditionally to reach an emissions level of 167 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030 or 51% emissions reduction in 2030 compared to their BAU scenario, including LULUCF. However, this target heavily relies on mitigation action in the LULUCF sector, such as land restoration and reducing deforestation. When excluding LULUCF, the NDC translates to emissions of 156-188 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, equivalent to a range of emissions of 2% below to 18% above 2015 levels.
Colombia’s NDC is not compatible with a 1.5°C domestic emissions pathway. At minimum, Colombia would need to achieve a 32% reduction below 2015 levels excluding LULUCF by 2030 to be aligned with a 1.5°C pathway, equivalent to absolute emissions levels of 108 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030. To achieve this Colombia would require significant international support.
Colombia’s NDC is not conditional on international support. However, Colombia’s fair share contribution – the emission reductions it needs to achieve without international support- lies above its domestic emissions pathway, indicating that it requires international support to close the gap between its fair share level and its 1.5°C domestic emissions pathway.
While Colombia has announced its intent to reach “carbon neutrality” by 2050, it has not officially submitted a strategy for this goal to the UNFCCC and does not explicitly specify whether this goal refers to net zero GHG emissions or rather net zero CO₂ emissions by 2050.
To be 1.5°C compatible, CO₂ emissions (excl. LULUCF) would need to be reduced to zero between 2040 and 2050, while GHG emissions would need to be reduced by around 89% below 2015 levels by around 2050.
On the road to net zero, the country would need to balance its remaining emissions in hard to abate sectors with the use of carbon dioxide removal approaches such as sinks from the land sector. While Colombia benefits from a high potential from forestry-based sinks, its LULUCF emissions are not net negative, and accounted for around 28% of total GHG in 2014. The country will need to implement stringent policies in order to reduce its land emissions to become net negative and reach net zero.
To date, Colombia has not indicated intent to upscale the use of negative emissions technologies, and has instead relied mainly on carbon removals through LULUCF measures in its mitigation pledges.