Reduction of Greenhouse Gases in Colombia: A Report from the Mines and Energy and Transportation Sectors (2020-2022)

Executive Summary

In recent years, Colombia has demonstrated its environmental commitment through the adoption of international environmental agreements, laws to promote non-conventional energy sources, and efforts to measure and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG). Nevertheless, to see tangible results, it is essential that each ministry or sector comply with these commitments and laws. In particular, the transformation of the mines and energy and transportation sectors is essential to reduce the country’s GHG emissions.

This document analyzes the progress of the Integrated Plans for Climate Change Management by Sector (PIGCCS in Spanish) in the ministries of Mines and Energy and Transportation between July 2020 and August 2022 to determine if they have helped the country achieve what are known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

General Conclusions

  • The PIGCCS provide guidelines for each sector’s path forward. The PIGCCS for Mines and Energy (PIGCCSme) was published in 2020 and updated in 2021. The Transportation PIGCCS has not been published.
  • Each ministry reports on its PIGCCS progress using different methods: an annual overview before Congress, accountability reports, articles/documents on its websites, presentations in national spaces, and through international communications channels like the Biennial Update Report (BUR), which is presented to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). There is no standardized format or exclusive channel for ministries to communicate their GHG reductions. As such, it is difficult to precisely identify tangible PIGCCS advances.
  • It is important to understand the PIGCCS as policy guidelines. This means that most outcomes are regulatory (laws, resolutions, agreements). The projects that ought to reduce GHG emissions in each sector (for example, the implementation of zero emission freight transportation, the proliferation of electric vehicles, the reduction of fugitive emissions in the mining sector or increased capacity in the production of energy from renewable sources) should be led by the private sector and other national entities.
  • The Ministry of Mines and Energy (Minenergía) has made great efforts to create, update, and communicate its PIGCCme. In 2021, the PIGCCSme was updated to reflect the new GHG projections for 2050, to add a strategic line (energy substitution and new technologies), and to include detailed estimates on five mitigation scenarios and plans to reach zero carbon for each mitigation scenario. In 2022, the Ministry published its first report for the Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) system on GHG emission mitigation in the PIGCCme. This report only reflects its advances up to 2020 and states that the implementation percentage was 40%; however, it does not provide details on the percentage of advances for each strategic area and acknowledges that a CO2 reduction was not found.
  • The information available from the Transportation PIGCCS is too limited to determine if it contributes to the Colombia NDC. The information provided in the BUR3 is the same as that reported by the Ministry of Transportation two years ago and national policies, such as Magdalena River navigability and the promotion of railway corridors, do not have a clear emission measurement and reduction strategy. There is no portal or section on the ministry’s website dedicated to reporting PIGCCS progress and is not clear if the sector’s Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) contemplate the measurement of emission reductions.

Recommendations

The following recommendations are based on the findings of this report to propose actions to guarantee Colombia’s effective fulfillment of its NDC.

  • Establish and strengthen Measurement, Reporting, and Verification systems for the PIGCCS to display progress on and impacts of GHG reduction in Colombia.
  • Strengthen the National Greenhouse Gases and Emissions Registry (RENARE) so that it includes improved operability and dissemination and the creation of incentives for stakeholders (particularly the private sector) who lead emission reduction projects to register their projects on the platform.
  • Centralize data. Information on PIGCCS advancements is found in multiple documents and there is no unified accountability format or document that must be used by all ministries. A unified table is recommended to present results as proposed by UNFCCC, to simply and quickly see the measures that impact GHG reductions and their progress.
  • Improve information availability and facilitate its comprehension. Available information is insufficient and is often presented in long and technical reports that require specialized knowledge to be understood. Understandable and readily accessible documents are required.
  • It is important to understand the ministries’ limitations vis-à-vis GHG reduction and measurement. The PIGCCS of Mines and Energy and Transportation by and large propose actions that promote and stimulate GHG reductions and that create the necessary regulatory framework but are not actions that in themselves lead to GHG reductions.
  • Produce reports on the environmental and social impacts of PIGCCS implementation and impact studies to learn if the proposed actions have had an impact beyond the estimated GHG reduction. To date, there are no documents of this kind.
  • Finally, to avoid negative environmental and/or social consequences, always take into account the local communities and territories affected by new energy and transportation projects. Colombia’s energy transition must not increase existing social-environmental and structural inequalities, nor reproduce extractivist models.

Conoce la publicación completa en español:

Reducciones de gases de efecto invernadero en Colombia: reporte de los sectores de minas y energía y de transporte, 2020-2022

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