Colombia pledges to reduce its GHG emissions by 51% by 2030

Posted on 04 December 2020

The announcement by President Iván Duque defines Colombia’s climate ambition and stakes its claim on climate leadership in Latin America.
(4 December 2020) - Last week, the Colombian Government announced that it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 compared to the projected baseline, setting off the promise of accelerated sustainable and resilient development.
The target will be included in Colombia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). NDCs brings together the goals, actions and measures that each country set and will carry out to mitigate the causes of climate change and adapt to its effects. The 196 countries who approved the global climate Paris Agreement in 2015, of which Colombia was one, are required to submit their enhanced NDCs to the UN by the end of this year. The Paris Agreement’s goal is to keep the Earth’s average surface temperatures to 1.5˚C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The goal to reduce emissions is the starting point from which the rest of the NDC components branch, since the measures and actions that it must take to achieve it, will depend on how ambitious the country is in this regard, as well as the means with which it will implement them.
With its announcement, Colombia joins a growing number of countries who have indicated they would revise their NDCs. To date, 17 countries have submitted NDCs to the UN, and many more are expected to submit their NDCs by the end of this year. Of these, Colombia is one of the countries which has enhanced their NDC.
Ximena Barrera, Director of government affairs and international relations for WWF Colombia said the announcement was enabled by a robust domestic review process of the first five years of implementation of national commitments.
“A process, coordinated by the Colombian Government, to define new goals and concrete plans to tackle the climate crisis involved key sectors of the Colombian economy with the greatest emissions and need to adapt:  Agriculture and Rural Development; Commerce, Industry and Tourism; Transportation; Housing; Energy and Mining; and Health and Social Protection,” she said.
The 2030 goal has more than 30 mitigation measures and 29 adaptation measures to accomplish it. The 51% target is aligned with Colombia’s Long Term Strategy to be net-zero by 2050.
“But perhaps, the most positive aspect is that the definition of the 51% goal was a collective and participatory process in which different sectors of the government were engaged.
“The process included the engagement of various other actors; a targeted survey for environmental experts; a public consultation in which any citizen could read the NDC update and make contributions; spaces for dialogue with community actors; and workshops with the members of the nine Regional Climate Change Nodes in the country,” she said.
“It is worth noting that Colombia’s progressive move of establishing regional climate change nodes throughout the territories were invaluable in being able to pin-point the areas where we could reduce emissions.”
In Colombia, greenhouse gas emissions predominantly come from seven activities or sectors, and deforestation is the main driver of emissions (16.68% of total emissions in Colombia). Last year alone, an area of ​​forest equivalent to 26 soccer fields was deforested every hour in the country. So controlling and modifying the causes associated with this practice that has great impacts on the environment and human well-being is urgent, and should be reflected in the updated NDC, said Barrera.
We congratulate the Colombian Government for their laser-focus on ensuring an ambitious national response to addressing the climate crisis. We are feeling very positive that, with the support and commitment of all sectors and actors involved, the new NDC will be successfully implemented over the next decade,” Barrera said.
Notes to Editors
  1. In support of the Colombian Government’s ambitious climate commitments, WWF-Colombia has worked with the national Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the World Bank on participation and communications strategy for updating the NDC. 
  2. Colombia will submit its NDC to the UN before the end of this year, in line with the obligations set out in the Paris Agreement. 
  3. WWF provided experts to engage and support climate change actors in the territories, ethnic and peasant communities, and Colombians in general, ensuring that the updating of the NDC were truly consultative and inclusive of all views. The mitigation and adaptation actions that Colombia will carry out to meet its goal, as well as the means of implementation through which it would achieve it, will only be achieved if everyone plays their part.
  4. Climate change causes are directly related to the way humans produce and consume. Every time we burn fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas, among others) to move around, transport goods, produce or consume electrical energy, for example, we generate greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to global warming. Disasters like those that Hurricane Iota caused in recent days in San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina -Colombia’s main islands- anticipate how the coming years will be if we are not ambitious with climate action.
Chiribiquete National Park, in the Amazon region of Colombia.
© César David Martínez
A Koguis tribesman on one of the terraces at Ciudad Perdida, Colombia.
© Dwayne Reilander
Sunset and fog on the Amazon forest in Colombia.
© Luis Barreto - WWF-Colombia