Colombia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is not compatible with a 1.5°C domestic emissions pathway, which would require a 35% reduction below 2015 levels excluding LULUCF by 2030, equivalent to an absolute emissions level of 99 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030.
Colombiaʼs total GHG emissions
excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr
- 1.5°C compatible pathways
- Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
- Current policy projections
- 1.5°C emissions range
- Historical emissions
In its updated NDC from December 2020, Colombia pledges unconditionally to reach an emissions level of 167 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, or a 51% emissions reduction by 2030 compared to its BAU scenario, including LULUCF. When excluding LULUCF and converted to AR4, the NDC translates to emissions of 161 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, equivalent to 7% above 2015 emissions levels.
1 Gobierno de Colombia- IDEAM. Segundo Reporte Bienal de Actualización- Informe de Inventario Nacional de GEI de Colombia. 180 (2019).
2 Editor. Colombian coal exports. The Coal Hub (2021).
3 U.S. Energy Information Administration. Colombia. U.S. Energy Information Administration (2019).
4 Gobierno de Colombia. Contribución Prevista Determinada a Nivel Nacional de la República de Colombia. (2020).
5 IRENA. Energy Profile: Colombia. IRENA. Energy Profile: Colombia. 2019.
6 OEC. Colombia Country profile. Country economic profile (2021).
7 Ministerio de Minas y Energia & UPME. Balance energetico colombiano. (2022).
8 Bnamericas. Colombia presenta plan de expansion energetica a largo plazo. Bnamericas (2021).
9 IRENA. Scaling Up Renewable Energy Investment in Colombia. (2020).
10 International Renewable Energy Agency. Renewable energy auctions in Colombia: Context, design and results. (2021).
11 Ministerio de Minas y Energia. Nueva Subasta de Energias Renovables en Colombia . (2021).
12 International Energy Agency (IEA). Colombia Country Profile: Total energy supply (TES) by source, 1990-2018. (2018)..
13 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).
14 Climate Action Tracker. Climate Target Update Tracker: Colombia. Climate Action Tracker (2021).
15 Gobierno de Colombia. Contribución Prevista Determinada a Nivel Nacional de la República de Colombia. (2020).
16 MinMinas & Gobierno de Colombia. Plan Integral de Gestión del Cambio Climático / Sector Minero Energético. (2018).
17 Gobierno de Colombia- MinAmbiente. Estrategia Nacional de Movilidad Eléctrica. (2019).
18 Ministerio de Vivienda Colombia. Resolución 0549 del 10 Julio de 2015. 1–10 Preprint at (2015).
19 Ministerio de Vivienda Colombia. PLAN INTEGRAL DE GESTIÓN DEL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO SECTORIAL: Sectora de Vivienda, Ciudad y Territorio. (2020).
20 Goverment of Colombia. Ley de Accion Climatica N°2169/2021. (2021).
21 Gobierno de Colombia. Contribución Prevista Determinada a Nivel Nacional de la República de Colombia. (2020).
22 Climate Transparency. CLIMATE TRANSPARENCY REPORT: COLOMBIA’S CLIMATE ACTION AND RESPONSES TO THE COVID-19 CRISIS. (2020).
23 Sánchez Molina, P. Colombia ratifica su intención de alcanzar 1.500 MW renovables instalados en 2022. PV Magazine Latin America (2019)..
24 Volcovici, V. Latin America pledges 70% renewable energy, surpassing EU: Colombia minister. Reuters (2019).
25 Gobierno de Colombia. Hoja de Ruta Nacional de edificaciones Neto Cero Carbono. (2022).”:https://www.minambiente.gov.co/cambio-climatico/sector-de-la-construccion-presenta-hoja-de-ruta-para-hacer-edificaciones-mas-sostenibles/
26 Guerra, E. & Guillén, J. Leyes de Eficiencia Energética en Latinoamérica y el Caribe. (2021).
27 Gütschow, J. et al. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series. Earth System Science Data vol. 8 (2016).
28 IDEAM Government of Colombia. TERCER INFORME BIENAL DE ACTUALIZACIÓN DE CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO DE COLOMBIA. (2021). www.cambioclimatico.gov.co
29 IDEAM, F. N. P. M. D. C. Third Biennial Update Report of Colombia BUR3. (2021).
30 Ministerio de Energia. Plan Energetico Nacional 2020-2050. (2019).
31 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.
32 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).
Colombia’s NDC is not conditional on international support. However, Colombia’s fair share contribution 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.
Long term strategy
Colombia submitted its Long Term Strategy (LTS) to the UNFCCC in November 2021 and has also enshrined a carbon neutral target for 2050 in domestic law as part of the Ley Climatica enacted in December 2021.
To be 1.5°C compatible, Colombia’s GHG emissions would need to be reduced by between 68-100% below 2015 levels by around 2050, or reach levels of 0-51 MtCO₂e by 2050.31
Negative emissions technologies
To achieve net zero emissions, Colombia would need to balance residual emissions in hard to abate sectors with the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches such as sinks from the land sector.1
- Coal currently plays a minor role in Colombia’s power sector (10% in 2019), although its share has been increasing. Colombia’s climate policy still lacks a phase-out date for coal or fossil gas.2
- To align with a 1.5°C pathway, coal would need to be phased out by around 2025. The 1.6 GW of capacity currently planned would therefore need to be scrapped. Gas, which accounted for 16% of power capacity in 2019, would need to be phased out between 2028 and 2033.
- Colombia has made good progress implementing renewables in the power sector in 2020, over 70% of Colombian power supply comes from hydropower. However, there are no further targets for rapidly upscaling renewables beyond 2022. Our analysis indicates that at least 96% of power would need to be generated by renewables in 2030 to be in line with a 1.5°C pathway.
- The share of emissions from residential and commercial buildings represents around 10% of the energy sector emissions for Colombia, mainly due to growth in gas consumption.
- Measures within Colombia’s NDC include improving energy efficiency standards for cooling and heating by implementing resolution N°0549 relating to sustainable construction.
- To align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C long-term temperature goal, the share of electricity in final energy demand in Colombia’s building sector would need to reach between 73-78% in 2030.
- Emissions from industrial processes in Colombia come mainly from cement and fertiliser production.
- Colombia has committed to a 15% reduction in fossil fuel use in the cement industry by 2030. This target needs to be broadened and increased to be in line with a zero emission pathway for the industry sector.
- The share of electricity, hydrogen and biomass could reach close to 100% of industry final energy demand by 2050.
- Colombia has set a target to increase the total stock of electric vehicles (EVs) to 600,000 by 2030 and to renew its fleet of heavy-duty vehicles, but these measures are not sufficient.
- The sectoral share of electrification, hydrogen and biofuels would need to increase to at least a 19% share by 2030 and over 90% by 2050 to be 1.5°C compatible.