What does the 1.5 degree target mean for Latin America?

By 20 abril, 2016 No Comments

The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) was held in Paris at the end of last year. There, delegates set a new climate goal of limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels. They agreed upon this goal because the previous goal of a 2°C increase by 2100 was insufficient for reducing climate change risks. Vulnerable countries were particularly concerned about the 2 degree target, including many countries from Latin America and the Caribbean. Given this new goal, we wanted to analyze its significance for the transport sector in Latin America, particularly Colombia and Mexico. We are therefore very excited to present our latest publication: The Paris Challenge for transport: Implications of the change in target at COP 21 for the transport sector, the cases of Colombia and Mexico. Click here for the full document, in Spanish with an executive summary in English.

What does the publication contain?

This report aims to answer several questions. First, it examines whether Latin America has been sufficiently ambitious and accurate in developing transport policies that significantly reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) in the sector. It also questions whether these policies are, in fact, reducing emissions. In addition, it assesses whether the implemented measures in the sector are being considered within climate change plans or if this linkage still needs to be developed.

At the same time, this report describes the sectoral implications of the new target of a 1.5° C temperature increase. The general focus of climate change action may need to be more ambitious to meet this goal, implying a major change in the region’s mobility paradigm. From this conclusion, the report analyzes Latin America’s preparedness and examines whether the region has taken the necessary steps to reach the 1.5° C goal. In doing so, it outlines what still needs to be done, specifically in the case of Colombia and Mexico. Finally, the report provides conclusions and recommendations on the topic.

What does it conclude?

The report arrives at four conclusions:

  1. There are a number of transport policies in Latin America, particularly in Colombia and Mexico, that are either already reducing emissions or have the potential to do so, despite the fact that they are not integrated with the emissions reduction Action Plans or national INDCs.
  2. There are also transport policies in the region (particularly in the two countries studied here) that do not reduce (and in some cases increase) transport emissions. Sectoral estimations for climate change action have not considered these adequately.
  3. There has been progress and specific plans from the climate change sector to promote sustainable transport use. Although there is mention of policies and programs that involve avoiding, reducing and shifting (Dalkmann and Braningan, 2007), the vast majority of measures are technology-focused and fall into the improve Unfortunately, these measures alone will not create a significant impact on emissions reductions in the sector.
  4. The region should be more ambitious in its policies, programs and projects. It should also integrate these better to generate a larger impact in the short and medium term.


What can be done?

From these conclusions, we make five key recommendations.

  1. Integrate transport policies more coherently with emission reduction policies and ambitions in the transport sector.
  2. Evaluate the relevance of continuing to implement transport policies that clearly increase GHG emissions and consider ending or reducing them.
  3. Clearly assess the mitigation potential of all transport policies and their potential co-benefits. Analyze barriers and challenges to implementation.
  4. Align sectoral policies to avoid discrepancies and decisively restrict policies that increase transport sector emissions.
  5. Promote necessary measures through regulation, financing, technical consulting and implementation. This will generate a high-impact shift in transport policies towards a low-carbon emission scenario.