Carolina Schmidt, COP25 President and Minister of Environment of Chile, on the First NDC Synthesis Report: “The magnitude of this global challenge demands greater ambition and leadership from major emitters”

This Friday, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) released its First NDC Synthesis Report, revealing that countries must redouble their efforts and submit more ambitious national climate action plans by 2021 to deliver on the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2C – ideally 1.5C – by the end of the century.

This report aggregates new emissions reduction commitments to 2030 presented by countries until the end of last year.

Chile was among the first seven country in the world to present its new commitments, and exhibited a significant increase in its level of climate ambition, as recognised by a number of international organizations.

The First NDC Synthesis Report indicates that much work remains to be done internationally, particularly by major emitters.

“Only 2 of the 18 largest emitters – the UK and EU – submitted updated NDCs in 2020 with a significant increase in their GHG reduction targets.  The other major emitters either submitted NDCs with a minimal increase in ambition or have not submitted their new NDCs yet.  Although the Synthesis Report shows that the NDCs submitted in 2020 are clearer and more complete than the first round – for example, containing more information on adaptation and greater alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals – the overall level of ambition exhibited by major emitters in this first snapshot, is very low,” said COP25 President and Minister of Environment, Carolina Schmidt.

“The magnitude of this global challenge requires collaborative work by all actors, in particular the major global players. We will only succeed if China, the United States and others step up with ambition. And in that respect we have good news because the new US and Chinese authorities understand well the magnitude of the problem and are working with greater ambition, for example targeting carbon neutrality in the long term” Schmidt added.

The report, requested by Parties to the Paris Agreement to measure progress on national climate action plans ahead of COP26, which will to be held this November in Glasgow, shows that only 75 Parties have communicated a new or updated NDC, representing approximately 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Only 8 of the largest emitters submitted new NDCs in 2020 and the combined impact of all NDCs submitted remains extremely low –  only a 1% reduction by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, far below the 45% reduction identified as necessary by the IPCC to achieve the 1.5°C temperature goal.

Patricia Espinosa, UN Executive Secretary for Climate Change, said, “While we recognize the recent shift in political momentum towards stronger climate action around the world, decisions to accelerate and scale up climate action everywhere must be taken now.”

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted “This is a unique moment that cannot be missed. As we rebuild, we cannot go back to business as usual. NDCs must reflect this reality and major emitters, especially the G20 nations, must lead the way”.

Following the postponement of COP26 until this year,  2021 presents a new opportunity for large emitters to commit to high levels of ambition, and for those that have already submitted NDCs with low levels of ambition to increase their commitments.


Launch of Race To Zero Breakthroughs

The UN High-Level Climate Champions, COP26 President Alok Sharma, COP25 President Carolina Schmidt, together with the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, launched the Race to Zero Breakthroughs at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda.

Race to Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. Reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century is crucial to achieve the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement on climate action, with clearly defined interim goals.

The “Race to Zero Breakthroughs” have been published in a special paper, which sets out near-term goals for more than 20 sectors that make up the global economy, forming a master plan around which business, governments, and civil society can unite ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference,  COP26, in Glasgow in November.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, said: “The Race to Zero Breakthroughs set out the specific tipping points that every sector in the global economy must reach in order to create a resilient zero carbon world.  We now know what key actors must do, and by when, to deliver the sectoral changes needed. I call on leaders across all sectors of the global economy to work together to deliver the Race to Zero Breakthroughs.”

COP26 President Designate Alok Sharma said: “It is vital that businesses go net zero, as part of our fight against climate change. Which is why we look to all sectors to reach a point at which a clean way of operating becomes the norm. Because if every sector plays its part, we will see the global economy on the right path to achieving net zero by 2050.”

To meet this challenge, actors covering 20% of their sector are being asked to commit to each breakthrough. The UN High-Level Champions — Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz — are now calling on local governments, businesses and investors to achieve breakthroughs in at least 10 sectors of the economy by the time governments convene in Glasgow in November for the UN climate negotiations.

The Race to Zero Breakthroughs have been drawn from the Climate Action Pathways, a set of comprehensive roadmaps to achieve the Paris Agreement in line with 1.5°C across all sectors, which were developed by the Marrakech Partnership — a vast coalition from across the climate action ecosystem — all of whom will need to play their part to transform their sector to deliver the breakthroughs.

One key member of this coalition is the Mission Possible Partnership, which only yesterday unveiled a new major multi-stakeholder platform – leveraging the power of the World Economic Forum, the Energy Transitions Commission, the Rocky Mountain Institute and We Mean Business – to deliver the Race to Zero Breakthroughs in seven of the most energy-intensive industries, including steel and shipping.

To achieve whole-economy transformation, cities, regions and private sector leaders will need to work in partnership and commit their skills, ingenuity and resources to achieving these breakthroughs. As Gonzalo Muñoz, COP25 Climate Champion, said: “We cannot win the Race to Zero by racing alone. Only by collaborating in wholesale systems transformation can we upgrade the sectors of our global economy to deliver a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon future. These sectoral breakthroughs will allow us to go further and faster in our race to zero emissions.”

Don’t miss the Race To Zero Dialogues

On 9-19 November the High-Level Champions for Global Climate Action are convening the Race to Zero Dialogues, in close collaboration with the Marrakech Partnership.

Building a climate-neutral and resilient world remains as urgent as ever. Collaboration between Parties and non-Party stakeholders (businesses, cities, subnational regions, investors and civil society) will be essential to grapple with the complexities of global transformation and promote high ambition of all stakeholders in the course of recover better. That’s why the importance of participating in the Race To Zero Dialogues.

In the spirit of inclusivity, the events are being hosted across multiple time-zones, allowing myriad speakers from all over the world to reflect on progress made on mitigation and adaptation.

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but these dialogues will chart how entire sectors are already rapidly transitioning to a zero-carbon future, as defined in the Climate Action Pathways.

The Race To Zero Dialogues will serve as critical input to the UNFCCC Climate Dialogues from 23 Nov – Dec 4, which are advancing work governing the rules of the Paris Agreement. Together, both Dialogues will set the stage for the Anniversary of the Paris Agreement on 12 December as the world embarks on the ‘Race to Zero’ towards COP26 in 2021.

Each ‘Race to Zero’ virtual dialogue is organized by a key partner, under an umbrella programme curated by the High-Level Champions. Full details are here (links under ‘more information’ will be added in due course).

Chilean researchers will participate in the writing of the next IPCC report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has announced the Core Writing Team that will prepare the Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) – the document that will integrate all the IPCC reports in the current assessment cycle.

The list of 30 Core Writing Team authors and 9 Review Editors -which includes two chilean researchers, Maisa Rojas and Paulina Aldunce who are members of the Scientific Committee on Climate Change of Chile– can be found here.

The members of the Core Writing Team were selected by the IPCC Bureau, from the author teams of the three Working Group contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report and the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC, reflecting the balance in geographical distribution, gender, and representative of a range of expertise.

“The biggest simultaneous challenge and opportunity for the Sixth Assessment Report Synthesis Report is the massive increase in public awareness of climate change since the Fifth Assessment Report, and the readiness of governments and other actors to address the challenge,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, who will lead the preparation of the report.

“My main request to you as a member of the Core Writing Team will be to strive to go beyond listing the key findings of the Special Reports and Working Group contributions to AR6, to develop a Synthesis Report document that is a real integration of the AR6 cycle materials,” he said in a letter of welcome to the Core Writing Team members.

The Synthesis Report is due to be released in 2022, in time to inform the 2023 Global Stocktake by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when countries will review progress towards the Paris Agreement goals, including the goal of keeping global warming to well below 2°C while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

Source: IPCC

Presidency of COP25 conducts dialogue with UNFCCC observers on ambition in the NDCs

The COP25 Presidency met virtually this morning with the 9 UNFCCC Constituencies and NGOs to hear their views on how civil society can contribute to improving ambition in the NDCs of Parties.

To date, 11 countries have submitted their updated or improved NDCs, and an additional 150 nations are expected to join.

On the occasion, The UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, started this meeting and made a strong call for participation.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that we address the most pressing challenge for us and future generations: climate change. The urgency of recovering from the current pandemic cannot be an excuse to adopt policies that would lock societies in a high emissions trajectory. In this regard, the work of civil society is key: from providing technical solutions to advocating for the right policies and voices of the vulnerable, and for that, spaces need to be created for them to contribute all their expertise”.

COP25 President and Minister of the Environment of Chile, Carolina Schmidt, chaired this meeting, making a strong call to make the relationship between the Parties and civil society more fluid, both in demanding urgent action and ambition by governments and also in offering solutions.

“The Chilean Presidency has strongly favoured the interaction with Non State Actors, and will continue to do so, by highlighting the importance of their contribution in the debates; the expert view of many in technical issues, the relevance of traditional and indigenous knowledge in climate solutions, and the centrality of science and the inputs from the science community to monitor and understand climate processes and projections”, said Schmidt.

Representatives of Business and industry non-governmental organizations (BINGO), Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGO), Farmers, Indigenous peoples organizations (IPO), Local government and municipal authorities (LGMA), Research and independent non-governmental organizations (RINGO), Trade Unions non-governmental organizations (TUNGO), Women and Gender, Youth non-governmental organizations (YOUNGO).

Chile launches the update of its emissions reduction commitment and measures to face climate change

  • The Environment Minister, Carolina Schmidt, asserted that the enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) lays the way for the country to advance at pace with the transition to a low-emission and climate-resilient economy, bringing significant social, environmental and economic benefits to improve standards of living.
  • The Minister for Energy, Juan Carlos Jobet, stressed that “achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 is more relevant today than ever and the NDC is an intermediate milestone to fulfill that commitment. Our country’s plan was prepared prioritizing the most cost-effective measures, as in this way we can support the wellbeing of Chileans and enhance our economic recovery.”
  • The Minister of Science, Andrés Couve, highlighted the role of Chile’s scientific community through the COP25 Scientific Committee which made important contributions to the development and improvement of the final NDC: “Today, the Chilean NDC has a scientific basis with a goal and a peak year of emissions that have been clearly established in accordance with the best evidence we have available.”

Via videoconference, the Chilean Government officially submitted its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), becoming the first Latin American country and one of a small group of countries in the world to do so. This document is a requirement established by the Paris Agreement. It contains the country’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 and address the impacts of climate change.

The document was presented by the Minister for the Environment and COP25 President, Carolina Schmidt; the Minister for Energy, Juan Carlos Jobet; and the Minister for Science, Andrés Couve. Connecting from Germany was the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Patricia Espinosa, who warmly received the submission of Chile’s climate commitments.

Minister Schmidt maintained that “when we overcome the [health] crisis, we will enter a period of reactivation that must be sustainable, where recovery plans must consider the climate crisis and its social impacts on people and the planet as a fundamental element. This is a key moment, which is why we are presenting our new NDC with ambitious goals and commitments that allow us to focus our recovery plans on a clear objective: advancing at pace with the transformation towards a low-emission and climate-resilient economy, with significant social, environmental and economic benefits to improve people’s standard of living”.

The Secretary of State added that “for this reason, this new NDC establishes ambitious goals across four central pillars: mitigation, adaptation, integration measures and, for the first time, a social pillar that permeates the other three to direct our development towards one that is low in emissions and resilient to climate, while maintaining focus on the impacts for the lives of people in their local areas”.

Minister Jobet indicated that “the measures are prioritized according to their cost efficiency and grouped into six lines of action. These strands and their respective contribution to CN 2050 are: sustainable industry and mining (25%), hydrogen production and consumption (21)%, sustainable construction of homes and public-commercial buildings (17%), electromobility mainly of public systems (17%), removal of coal-fired power plants (13%) – which is one of the central enabling measures – and other energy efficiency measures (7%)”.

He added that “achieving the goal of Carbon Neutrality would mean investment opportunities of between US$ 27,300 and US$ 48,600 million by 2050.”

Minister Couve emphasized that “for the first time, the national scientific community actively participated to provide evidence for the NDC update. This participation was channeled through the COP25 Scientific Committee, coordinated by the Ministry of Science, where more than 600 Chilean scientists split across seven working groups contributed evidence that has allowed us to contextualize what it means to incorporate the carbon budget into the Chilean reality and, along with it , clearly establish a goal and a peak year in terms of Greenhouse Gas emissions. In addition, there were contributions from the scientific community on oceans, adaptation, biodiversity and the development of the Strategy for Development and Technology Transfer for Climate Change.”


Central theme

Chile’s updated NDC takes a novel approach, presenting a cross-cutting Social Pillar on Just Transition and Sustainable Development. This component serves as an anchor to structure the country’s commitments to tackle climate change in compliance with the Paris Agreement, while simultaneously taking forward the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda, established by the UN.

As such, the measures contained in the NDC consider variables such as water security, gender equity and equality, and the just transition, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable in the process of decarbonizing the energy system.

The other key components of the NDC are mitigation, adaptation, integrative action, and measures for implementation (technological capabilities and financing) – each with its own specific targets.

With respect to mitigation, Chile commits to a GHG emissions budget not exceeding 1,100 MtCO2eq between 2020 and 2030, with a GHG emissions maximum (peak) by 2025 and a GHG emissions level of 95 MtCO2eq in 2030. In addition, it targets a reduction of at least 25% of total black carbon emissions by 2030, relative to 2016 levels.

In terms of adaptation, various commitments have been made, among which the strengthening of data and mechanisms to manage the impacts of climate change on water security stand out. These include, for example, the establishment of an indicator nationally and at the scale of individual rivier basins by 2030, which will allow improved monitoring of hydrological stress and risks, helping the country drive towards improved water security.

Similarly, by 2030 strategic plans will have been drawn up for all of the country’s 101 hydrological basins, and all companies in the health sector will have established a plan for disaster risk management which considers those risks associated with climate change.

Meanwhile, in the component focused on integrative action, Chile has set out that a National Landscape Scale Restoration Plan will be established by 2021. This will contemplate the incorporation of 1,000,000 hectares of diverse landscapes into restoration processes by 2030, prioritizing those exhibiting greatest social, economic and environmental vulnerability.

With regards to implementation measures, the delivery of Chile’s Financial Strategy for Climate Change (EFCC) will begin this year.

It is noteworthy that the update of Chile’s NDC followed an extensive and wide-ranging process of stakeholder engagement, involving civil society, academia, the scientific community, and public and private sectors. This engagement began in order to inform the development of the initial NDC proposal and, once this was refined, the public consultation process began, generating 1,573 responses – many of which were included in the final project.

The COP25 Scientific Committee, through its seven working groups, also made crucial contributions to the development and improvement of the final NDC.