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Ambition gap

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

1.5°C compatible pathways

Currently Ecuador is aiming for conditional emissions level of 63 MtCO₂e/yr excluding LULUCF in 2025, equivalent to a 20.9% reduction compared to their BAU scenario.1 This is equivalent to a 7% emissions reduction compared to 2015 levels.

In contrast, a 1.5°C compatible pathways would require maximum emissions level of roughly 35 MtCO₂e/yr in 2030, equivalent to a 48% reduction compared to 2015 levels.

If Ecuador were to follow their trajectory towards 63 MtCO₂e/yr in 2025 set out in their NDC, this would still require a massive cut of over 40% of emissions in five years to meet a 1.5°C compatible 2030 emissions level. Ecuador will need to greatly increase the ambition of its NDC mitigation target to be on a 1.5°C compatible pathway.

With international support, Ecuador will be able to implement its domestic emissions pathway, and close the gap between its fair share level and its 1.5°C compatible domestic emissions level.

Long term pathway

Ecuador has not yet released a long-term target, although a long-term mitigation strategy is under development.3 A 1.5°C compatible pathway would require Ecuador to reduce its GHG emissions excluding LULUCF by around 88% by 2050 below 2015 levels and be close to a fully decarbonised economy by 2050, with a maximum of 8 MtCO₂e/yr total emissions.20

On the long term, the country will need to significantly reduce its forestry emissions and increase its land sinks to balance remaining emissions. Agriculture will be the major remaining emitter past 2050, with a smaller share of non-CO₂ GHG emissions from the waste and industrial sectors. This could be balanced by land-based sinks. However, the amount of negative emissions needed could be reduced to zero with a 100% renewable share in the power sector by 2040 and steep reductions in fossil fuel use in transport.

1 Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador. Primera Contribución Determinada a nivel nacional para el Acuerdo de París bajo la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidad sobre Cambio Climático. Gob. Ecuador 1–44 (2019).

2 International Energy Agency (IEA). IEA Country Report: Ecuador. (2020).

3 Plan Nacional de Mitigación del Cambio Climático (PLANMICC). Climaton.ec (2021).

4 MERNNR. Plan Maestro de Electricidad 2019-2027. MERNNR Minist. Energía y Recur. No Renov. Energía y Recur. No Renov. 390 (2019).

5 Ministerio del Ambiente (Ecuador). Primer Informe Bienal de Actualización de Ecuador. (2016).

6 Ministerio del Ambiente del Ecuador. Primer Informe Bienal de Actualización del Ecuador a la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático. (2015).

7 Global Forest Watch. Ecuador Deforestation Rates & Statistics | GFW. (2021).

8 Timber Trade Portal. Forest resources and context of Ecuador. (2020).

9 Meta en Ecuador para depender menos del petróleo aún no se alcanza. El Universo (2019).

10 Gobierno de Ecuador. Estrategia Nacional de Cambio Climático del Ecuador 2012-2025. vol. 148 (2012).

11 Ministerio de Energía y Recursos Naturales No Renovables (Ecuador). MINISTERIO DE ENERGÍA INICIÓ LA ELABORACIÓN DEL PLAN ENERGÉTICO NACIONAL DEL ECUADOR PROYECTADO AL 2050. Boletín de prensa (2021).

12 Secretaría Nacional de Planificación y Desarrollo (Ecuador). Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 2017-2021-Toda una Vida. 84 (2017).

13 Ministerio de Energía y Recursos Naturales No Renovables (Ecuador). Ecuador actualiza su Plan Maestro de Electricidad para impulsar inversiones en Energías Renovables No Convencionales por cerca de USD 2.200 Millones. Boletín de Prensa (2021).

14 Energía Estratégica. Ecuador anuncia convocatorias para construir más de 1000 MW de energías renovables. Energía Estratégica (2021).

15 Alvarado, P. Plan de electricidad busca captar inversiones por cerca de USD 2 200 millones. El Comercio (2021).

16 Cristina, P. M. A. Análisis del Plan Nacional de Eficiencia Energética en el Ecuador. Rev. RIEMAT 5, 28–34 (2020).

17 Ministerio de Ambiente del Ecuador. Ecuador’s forest reference emission level for deforestation. REDD UNFCCC Submissions 59 (2015).

18 Ministerio del Ambiente (Ecuador). Bosques Para el Buen Vivir: Plan de Acción REDD+ Ecuador 2016-2025. (2016).

19 IRENA. Ecuador Energy Profile 2021.

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 which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

Methodology

Ecuadorʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
−150%−100%−50%0%19902010203020502070
Net zero GHG excl. LULUCF*
2065
Reference year
2015
1.5°C emissions level
−46%
NDC (unconditional)
+2%
NDC (conditional)
−8%
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
2025 NDC (unconditional)
1.5°C emissions level (2030)
Ref. year 2015
69MtCO₂e/yr

Energy system transformation

While Ecuador’s power sector already has a high share of renewable energy, to achieve a 1.5°C compatible 2030 emissions level, Ecuador would have to rapidly increase the share of renewable energy in the total primary energy supply (TPES). Illustrative pathways indicate that at least 20% of the TPES would need to be produced by non-biomass renewable sources by 2030 for a 1.5°C pathway. This would then accelerate to a minimum of a 61% share of renewables. While some models show a deployment of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) up to 2-5% share by 2050, higher shares of renewable energy would avoid the reliance on costly negative emissions technologies not yet available at scale. Accomplishing this will require a rapid shift away from fossil fuel-based transport towards electrification alongside prioritising the use of non-hydro renewables in order to phase out gas and fuel oil in the power sector.

Methodology

Ecuadorʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

Scaling
SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
Low Energy Demand
20192030204020501 0001 500
High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Renewables incl. Biomass
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS

Ecuadorʼs total CO₂ emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂/yr

−40−200204019902010203020502070
  • 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 Ecuador. 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
2015
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
69
70
37
34 to 43
22
14 to 24
13
9 to 16
2065
2056
Relative to reference year in %
−46%
−51 to −37%
−68%
−79 to −65%
−81%
−87 to −77%
Total CO₂
MtCO₂/yr
43
42
24
15 to 27
8
−3 to 13
0
−4 to 4
2051
2038 to 2064
Relative to reference year in %
−44%
−64 to −37%
−82%
−107 to −70%
−100%
−109 to −90%

Footnotes