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Current situation

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

Emissions profile

The largest emitting sector in the Colombian economy is the energy sector, which accounts for 53% of emissions. This sector includes emissions from fossil fuels in energy production, with Colombia being a major exporter of coal and oil.3,4 Combustion of liquid fuels in the transport sector is the main driver of energy-related emissions, accounting for 19% of the total). Agriculture is the second largest emitter, representing 29% of emissions.

Despite it having the majority share of emissions, Colombia’s updated NDC makes comparatively small mitigation pledges for the energy sector, of only 11.2 MtCO₂e by 2030.5

The majority of pledged mitigation actions take place in the LULUCF sector, focusing on land restoration (16.9 MtCO₂e reduction by 2030) and reducing deforestation (59 MtCO₂e reduction by 2030). The agriculture, forestry and land use (AFOLU) sectors together account for over 60% of total GHG emissions, with LULUCF accounting for around 28% of the total in 2014.

1 Statista Research Department. Distribution of exports in Colombia in 2019, by sectors. Statista (2021).

2 Gobierno de Colombia- IDEAM. Segundo Reporte Bienal de Actualización- Informed de Inventario Nacional de GEI de Colombia. 180 (2019).

3 Editor. Colombian coal exports. The Coal Hub (2021).

4 U.S. Energy Information Administration. Colombia. U.S. Energy Information Administration (2019).

5 Gobierno de Colombia. Contribución Prevista Determinada a Nivel Nacional de la República de Colombia. (2020).

6 International Energy Agency (IEA). Colombia Country Profile: Total energy supply (TES) by source, 1990-2018. (2018)..

7 IRENA. Scaling Up Renewable Energy Investment in Colombia. (2020).

8 Groot, K. de, Vega, C. B.- & Juarez-Lucas, A. Turning the Tide: Improving Water Security for Recovery and Sustainable Growth in Colombia. World Bank 36 (2020).

9 Climate Action Tracker. Climate Target Update Tracker: Colombia. Climate Action Tracker (2021).

10 Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible Colombia. ‘Colombia Carbono Neutral’, una estrategia para combatir el cambio climático. Noticias: Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarollo (Colombia) (2021).

11 MinEnergía Colombia. Antes de 2050 el sector eléctrico colombiano será carbono neutral. (2020).

12 MinMinas & Gobierno de Colombia. Plan Integral de Gestión del Cambio Climático / Sector Minero Energético. (2018).

13 Gobierno de Colombia- MinAmbiente. Estrategia Nacional de Movilidad Eléctrica. (2019).

14 Ministerio de Vivienda Colombia. Resolución 0549 del 10 Julio de 2015. 1–10 (2015).

15 Ministerio de Vivienda Colombia. PLAN INTEGRAL DE GESTIÓN DEL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO SECTORIAL: Sectora de Vivienda, Ciudad y Territorio. (2020).

16 Climate Transparency. CLIMATE TRANSPARENCY REPORT: COLOMBIA’S CLIMATE ACTION AND RESPONSES TO THE COVID-19 CRISIS. (2020).

17 NDC Partnership. Colombia and Panama Eye Carbon Neutrality by 2050.

18 Sánchez Molina, P. Colombia ratifica su intención de alcanzar 1.500 MW renovables instalados en 2022. PV Magazine Latin America (2019)..

19 Volcovici, V. Latin America pledges 70% renewable energy, surpassing EU: Colombia minister. Reuters (2019).

20 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.

21 The re-expressed emissions excluding LULUCF below selected baseline used the 2015 emissions from PRIMAP (161 MtCO₂e), also shown in the figures, for its calculation. When possible, the needed emissions reduction be updated to be re-expressed relative to the latest historical year for the country. A range was used in the calculation of the unconditional NDC excluding LULUCF to reflect different possibilities depending on the extent to which LULUCF is used in mitigation actions.

22 In some of the analysed pathways, the energy sector assumes already a certain amount of carbon dioxide removal technologies, in this case bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Colombiaʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Transport
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Other
  • Power
  • Buildings
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Agriculture
  • Waste
  • Industry (processes)
  • LULUCF
Energy (53%)0

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
00

Sectors by gas

Energy
085%0
Agriculture
00
Industry (processes)
071%0

Energy system

The Colombian energy sector is still reliant on fossil fuels, with oil, natural gas and coal accounting for approximately 40%, 25% and 10% of total primary energy in 2018, respectively.6 Hydropower and biofuels/waste together accounted for the remaining approximate 20%.

Colombia is an oil, gas and coal producer and a major fossil fuel exporter, which is an important source of revenue for the country. In 2018, coal accounted for 18% of total exports, with a minor role in the power mix – at 4% of generation in 2017. Colombia plans to expand its coal power generation capacity with an additional 1.6 GW in its pipeline.

The country has the goal of an additional 1500 MW in renewable capacity by 2022.7 Targets for non-hydro renewable power generation are particularly important, given that over 70% of Colombia’s power is already sourced from hydroelectricity,6 yet its hydrological resources are forecasted to become much more variable and vulnerable under climate change.8

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Fixed level target

NDC target

Unconditional NDC Target:

  • Absolute emissions limit of 167 MtCO₂e/yr in 2030 (incl. LULUCF); equivalent to a 51% reduction below BAU by 2030 (incl. LULUCF).9
  • 156-188 MtCO₂e/yr (excl. LULUCF) by 2030.
  • 2% below-18% above 2015 emissions by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).21

Market mechanism

  • Set price of 17,211 Colombian pesos/tCO₂ by 2030.

Long-term target

  • Intention to achieve “carbon neutrality”, including LULUCF, by 2050.10,11

Sector coverage

EnergyIndustryWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂NF₃N₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Energy

  • An 11.2 MtCO₂e reduction by 2030 through a combination of reducing increasing energy efficiency while reducing energy demand and fugitive emissions.5,12

Buildings

  • 100% of new buildings constructed to meet new energy efficiency standards by 2026, continuing through 2030.5,14,15

Power

  • Reaching 1500 MW of installed non-hydro renewable capacity by 2022, equivalent to roughly 9% of the electricity supply.7

Transport

  • 600,000 electric vehicles in use by 2030.5,13

Agriculture

  • Increase efficiency and intensification of livestock farming through silvopastoral systems.5

LULUCF

  • Restore 963,000 hectares of degraded forested land by 2030.5
  • Reduce the rate of deforestation to 50,000 hectares/year by 2030.5

Footnotes