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Current situation

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

Emissions profile

The main contributor to Ecuador’s total emissions is the energy sector, accounting for 69% of total emissions in 2019. The transport sector is responsible for the majority (34%) of the energy sector emissions, due to the overwhelming reliance of Ecuador’s transport sector on oil-based fuels. Both the power and industrial sectors also still use a high proportion of fuel-oil and natural gas for energy.4 Emissions in the agricultural sector, which account for 19% of total emissions, stem mainly from agricultural soils and livestock enteric fermentation.5 Ecuador’s economy is mostly based on exports of shrimps, bananas and petroleum products.6

It is worth noting that LULUCF emissions play a major role in Ecuador’s overall carbon footprint, which we do not consider here. In its 2016 national GHG inventory report, Ecuador reported that around half of its CO₂ emissions came from the LULUCF sector. The other half came mostly from the energy sector, largely driven by the transformation of forests into agricultural lands.6 Due to its wide forest surface (around half of its territory), Ecuador’s forests have a potential to be a significant carbon sink. However, due to high deforestation rates (between 2001 and 2020 Ecuador lost 871 kha of tree cover), this is currently not the case.7,8

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.

Ecuadorʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Transport
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Other
  • Buildings
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Power
  • Agriculture
  • Waste
  • Industry (processes)
  • LULUCF
Energy (70%)0

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
061%0

Sectors by gas

Energy
083%0
Agriculture
064%0
Industry (processes)
092%0

Energy system

Ecuador’s energy system is overall still largely dependent on fossil fuels, particularly in the industrial and transport sectors where oil is the main fuel used for combustion. Overall, fossil fuels made up 83% of Ecuador’s total primary energy supply (TPES) in 2019, with oil alone accounting for 80%.2 Ecuador was the fifth largest oil producer in South America in 2020, and its economy still relies on fossil fuels revenues. Oil production accounted for 10% of Ecuador’s GDP in 2018, although this share is in decline in recent years. The power sector is less dependent on fossil fuels with 78% renewable power generation in 2019, although oil still accounts for roughly 17% of power generation.2 The majority (76%) of renewable power in Ecuador comes from hydropower. Solar and wind energy both still account for less than 1% of power production.9 The government has announced plans to revise its “Master Plan for Electricity 2019-2027”, and in this context indicated that it will continue relying on hydropower for the majority of the country’s energy sector emissions reduction, while gradually increasing the use of gas and fuel oil in the power mix by 6% through 2027.4

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Baseline scenario target

NDC target

Unconditional NDC Target:

  • 9% below BAU scenario by 2025 (excl. LULUCF).1
  • 7% below 2015 emission levels by 2025 (excl. LULUCF).

Conditional NDC Target:

  • 20.9% below BAU scenario by 2025 (excl. LULUCF).1

Long-term target

The Ecuadorian government is currently in the process of designing its National Plan for the Mitigation of Climate Change (PLANMICC) which will extend the mitigation targets set out in the first NDC over a longer time horizon, with the objective of “decarbonising” by 2050.3

Sector coverage

EnergyIndustryWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄NF₃HFCsN₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Energy

  • In their National Climate Change Strategy 2012-2025 (ENCC), Ecuador indicates that hydroelectric, wind and solar projects will help to mitigate energy emissions over the planning horizon, reducing an estimated 8 MtCO₂e/yr, 0.082 MtCO₂e/yr and 0.1 MtCO₂e/yr by 2025, respectively.10
  • Energy efficiency improvements are estimated by the ENCC to mitigate 0.4 MtCO₂e/yr by 2025.10
  • Drafting for Ecuador’s National Energy Plan 2050 (PEN 2050) began in March 2021.11

Transport

  • The RENOVA Program under Ecuador’s ENCC aims to reduce transport sector emissions by 0.01 MtCO₂e/yr by 2025 through the renovation of the country’s automotive fleet.10 (Equivalent to only 1% emissions reduction below 2019 levels from IEA reported data).
  • The government makes mention of improving electric vehicle (EV) uptake or reducing fossil based transport fuel in the country’s ENCC or their NDC.1,10

Agriculture

In their 2019 NDC, Ecuador mentions implementing improved, sustainable fishing practices to reduce emissions from the sector, yet did not give any estimation of its mitigation potential nor additional mitigation measures.1

Power

  • The National Development Plan 2017-2021 sets a target of reaching 90% renewables-based power generation by 2021. However, this has not yet been achieved.12
  • Despite this target, the Master Electricity Plan 2018-2027 shows that fossil fuel sources of power will actually increase by 6% through 2027 to meet projected increasing demand and extension of electricity coverage to remote areas of Ecuador.4
  • From an initial release of the updated Master Electricity Plan through 2031, the government has indicated greater efforts towards non-hydro renewables with plans to install over 1000 MW of solar and wind capacity between 2025-2028.1315

Buildings

  • The National Energy Efficiency Plan 2016-2035 (PLANEEE) recognises that the building sector accounts for 57% of total electricity use in Ecuador. The PLANEEE sets a target to reduce total energy consumption from this sector by 88.8 Mbep by 2035 through energy efficiency measures.16 (Around a 78% decrease compared to 2019 levels reported by the IEA).

Waste

In their 2019 NDC, Ecuador indicates its intention to pursue greater capture and usage of biogas from waste, without estimates of mitigation potential nor implementation status.1

LULUCF

In their 2019 NDC and in their REDD+ Strategy 2016-2025, Ecuador lists a separate mitigation target for the LULUCF sector, with the aim to reduce LULUCF emissions by 20% compared 2008 levels reported by the official Forest Reference Emissions Level of 43 MtCO₂e/yr in 2008.1,17,18

Footnotes