Argentina Emission Reduction Challenges

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Leading Challenges to Emissions Reduction: (a) Rising consumer and industrial demand for energy; (b) Dependence on fossil fuels as an energy source

Current Level of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Argentina is one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gasses (GHG) in Latin America and accounts for around 1% of global emissions. Total emissions for the country were around 429 MtCO2e according to Argentina’s Third National Communication on Climate Change (2012). This latest figure represented a slight decline from previous years. The sector-wise distribution of GHG emissions is as follows:

Sector Distribution of GHG emissions
Energy 43%
Agriculture and animal husbandry 28%
Land use change and forestry 21%
Waste 5%
Industrial processes 3%

In its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), Argentina commits to an unconditional 15% reduction in greenhouse gases compared to business as usual projections and a conditional 30% reduction if it receives required support.

Emission Reduction Challenges: Energy

Energy, by far Argentina’s highest emitting sector, features prominently in discussions about reducing GHGs. Although the Government points out that high energy consumption results from the country’s large geographic area and efforts to raise living conditions for all citizens, it should also be noted that the country is still heavily fossil-fuel reliant. Sixty-four percent of Argentina’s power is generated by fossil fuels (most commonly natural gas followed by oil) and large hydroelectric accounts for 30%. Despite significant potential for wind and solar, only a small amount of Argentina’s energy currently comes from renewable sources.

During his campaign, President Mauricio Macri claimed energy would be a top priority. Observers are hopeful that he can address the country’s energy crisis, and so far there have been some encouraging actions. An ambitious target has been set to increase renewable energy production from around 2% to 20% by 2025. Reaching this target will require a large-scale shift in where Argentina gets its energy and how it is used. Some measures towards this target include:

  • Finalization of Law No. 27191 requiring large users of electricity to source at least 8% of their power from renewable sources.
  • Planned launch of the country’s largest solar project—a 3GW solar power park in Jujuy province.
  • First renewable energy auction calling on companies to bid on 1,000 MW of renewable energy.

However, improving Argentina’s energy matrix will not be easy. Positive actions to increase renewable energy are somewhat tempered by increases in conventional energy sources.

Emissions Reduction Challenges: Agriculture

Of course improvements in energy alone are not enough. Argentina needs significant action in other domains as well. For example, Argentina can make serious reductions in GHG emissions by acting strategically in the agricultural sector which accounts for nearly a third of all emissions. Agriculture in Argentina produces significant GHG emissions directly. For example, around 12% comes directly from cattle farming which produces large amounts of methane. At the same time agriculture has other consequences, perhaps most notably large-scale deforestation linked to agricultural expansion. Forest-pasture systems, crop rotation, increasing fertilizer efficiency and increasing the slaughter weight and weaning rate are practices that could help Argentina reduce emissions in an important way.

–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Dustin Robertson

Useful Resources

http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/Argentina/1/Argentina%20INDC%20Non-Official%20Translation.pdf

http://global-climatescope.org/en/download/reports/countries/climatescope-2015-ar-en.pdf

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/06/argentina-launches-innovative-renewables-program.html

http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/argnc3s.pdf

https://www.iamericas.org/documents/energy/reports/Argentinas_Energy_Transition_2016.pdf