Options to Achieve Carbon Neutrality in Chile: An Assessment Under Uncertainty

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Benavides, Carlos;
Gilabert, Horacio;
González, Diego;
Menares, Luna;
Meza, Francisco;
Molina, Edmundo;
Montedónico, Marcia;
Palma, Rodrigo;
Pica, Andrés;
Salas, Cristian;
Torres, Rigoberto;
Vicuña, Sebastián;
Valdés, José Miguel;
Aug 2021
Chile aims to reach carbon neutrality. Its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commits the country to reach net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 and sets targets for emissions to be reduced progressively over time.

To comply with the goals of the NDC, line ministries have considered a set of sectoral transformations, such as closing coal-fired power plants, promoting electric mobility, and increasing forest captures which, taken together, could bring emissions down to zero.

This study evaluates how these sectoral transformations would fare under a wide range of economic, environmental, and technological uncertainties. It identifies the vulnerabilities of the strategy, that is, under what conditions sectoral transformations are insufficient to achieve net-zero emissions. It then quantifies options for making sectoral plans to deliver the NDC more robust, that is to reduce the likelihood of not achieving carbon neutrality.

Additional measures discussed include speeding up retirement of coal-fired power plants, promotion of telework and non-motorized transport, reduction of beef consumption, expansion of thermal retrofitting of houses, increased afforestation, sustainable forest management, and expansion of protected areas. These measures are based on ideas proposed by sectoral experts during a participatory process.

Finally, a macroeconomic evaluation finds that enhancing the set of measures put forward to comply with the NDC would result in a net gain of 0.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050, on the top of 4.4% GDP gain that the current NDC plans would bring.