What should Chile do?

1

Enhance NDC its to be 1.5 degree aligned by COP26:

  • Chile submitted an enhanced NDC in April 2020, making it the first Latin American country to do so. Although still not consistent with 1.5ºC or 2ºC pathways, WWF classifies it as “a short way to go” to an ideal level of ambition
2

Build a just and resilient recovery plan:

  • Continue to support the Climate Law and sustain dialogues on the best way to include climate action in the upcoming Constitution
  • Approve Climate Change Framework laws and make sectoral long-term climate strategies compulsory
  • Enhance the ambition of the LULUCF sector in the NDC. A step in the right direction would be i) to finalise and capture updates to the Native Forest Law and New Forest Promotion Law and clarify impact on LULUCF and overall emissions and ii) include more specific and ambitious sectorial actions within the NDC
  • Introduce an adaptation and resilience approach to sectoral policies, particularly by leading regional efforts on transitioning the transport sector with Santiago having the largest pure electric bus fleet in the world, after China
  • In the discussion of the fiscal budget 2021 do not rely solely on traditional public works, but to diversify the kind of investments, such as nature-based solutions and retrofit of buildings, which are intensive in workforce and are aligned to climate action

What you need to know about Chile?

  • The updated NDC is more ambitious: it includes a new conditional target and links 2030 targets to the 2050 carbon neutrality goal; going from “Highly Insufficient” to “Insufficient” in its ranking. In addition, it sets a peaking point of emissions and a carbon budget. These two new features are aligned with an enhancement of the principle of transparency
  • Projected emissions for 2030 of current policies would not meet the target, but implementation of planned policies would allow an overachievement
  • The 2050 Energy Strategy (of 2015) set RE targets of at least 60% by 2035 and 70% by 2050 for electricity generation. This strategy is being updated through an official participatory process which included 15 roundtables where more than 800 people from all economic sectors participated
  • Due to market signals, companies have accelerated commitments to closing coal plants, and RE generation projects are the main investment for the energy sector.On October 27, the Chamber of Deputies approved a law prohibiting the installation of new coal thermoelectric plants beginning on Dec 31st 2025 as part of the plan to phase-out all coal plants by 2040
  • Climate action has lost the place it had as a priority for the Presidency in the run up to COP25. However, in the referendum held on October 25 Chileans voted to rewrite the national constitution, which offers an opportunity to embed climate ambition as central to the country’s economic model and social contract
Recovery Measurements to Highlight

  • The “Paso a Paso: Chile se recupera” [Step by step: Chile recovers] initiative has outlined measures to incentivize employment and investment, as well as SME support and red tape cuts. The plan explicitly mentions the installment of new hydroelectric and desalinization plants among other infrastructure related to sanitization, waterworks and public transport
  • The recovery plan establishes that 30% of the public investment should be aligned with CBI (Climate Bond Initiative) standards given the underlying Sovereign Green Bond financing

Recent developments, threats and levers for action

Recent developments

  • Chile submitted an enhanced NDC in April 2020. Although still not consistent with 1.5ºC or 2ºC pathways, WWF classifies it as “a short way to go” to an ideal level of ambition – it brings Chile to a pathway of between 2C and 3C of temperature increase. It is unlikely that Chile will present another update soon
  • Despite having championed the process for years, Chile has now publicly announced it will not ratify or sign the historic Escazú Agreement which aims to protect the rights to information, participation and justice around environmental issues
  • The pandemic temporarily appeased the social uproar of 2019 but social unrest is ongoing and a referendum was held on October 25th, 2020 which approved the drafting of a new Constitution to replace the current one – from 1980 and widely considered to give an undue amount of power on the executive. The new Constitution will be developed by a Constitutional Convention made up of members elected by citizens during 2021. Subnational actors such as AGORA AG, electric car company BYD, and the Government of the city of Santiago are all key actors that could influence a renewable energy and climate-aligned narrative to be adopted in a new constitution. A new constitution is likely to adopt a more ‘social democratic’ stance by redistributing power to a legislative assembly and expanding the role of the government, likely opening the door for more ambitious climate action led by the public sector in the coming years
  • Economic crisis and unemployment are pressing policy-makers to focus in short-term policy reliefs schemes, giving little space for strategic long term goals such as climate. Electrification of transportation, renewables and green hydrogen create a positive narrative of economic opportunity
  • There is considerable interest among some non state actors, including the current Climate Champions to discuss the potential launch of an Alliance for Climate Action (ACA) to work on the NDC implementation

Strengths

  • Clean technology (renewable energy, electric buses and decarbonization of the energy sector, coal phase-out is moving forward)
  • No oil and gas production potential
  • Chile was one of the first countries to officially submit an updated NDC

Opportunities

  • Social discontent could be channeled through the Constitutional Convention to include decarbonization and resilience discussions into a new constitution

Weaknesses

  • Unresolved challenge of inequality, social unrest, President Piñera reached the lowest popularity point of his term
  • The pandemic has changed political priorities and boosting employment and economic growth are at the core of policy decision-making
  • Neighboring Argentina’s expanding natural gas production has made transnational gas pumping more accessible and attractive to Chile in the face of the energy transition

Threats

  • Political divisions deepening
  • Debate on inequality and social justice leaving little space for ambitious climate action
  • Ongoing COVID19 pandemic diverts key resources

About Climate Diplomacy Snapshots

The data is clear. Accelerated and enhanced action is needed now to build resilience and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. As they seek to address the ongoing health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19, governments should seize opportunities to invest in a recovery that will build social, economic and climate resilience on the long-term.The Climate Diplomacy Snapshots aim to provide the climate community with a clear overview of what each country should do, on climate and recovery, to pursue these joint objectives and keep the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C. Each has been prepared with the help of national experts, and will be regularly updated. The snapshots aim to support climate. advocacy in the lead up to COP26

Check other Snapshots