Colombia’s congress ratifies The Paris Climate Agreement

Colombia’s Congress unanimously ratified The Paris Climate Agreement on June 16, 2017. The Paris Agreement, which was first adopted in the French capital in December 2015 and signed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in April 2016, commits the country to take whatever actions might be necessary to ensure that global temperatures do not rise by an average of more than 2°C in the coming decades. To achieve this goal, Colombia undertook to cut its emissions by 20%, compared to the projected figure for 2030.

“It is a clear demonstration of the political will to progress toward the resilient, low-carbon growth targets”, said WWF-Colombia Climate Change Specialist Óscar Guevara.

Per capita, Colombia emitted just 1.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013, according to the most recent data from the U.S.-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This is less than half the amount produced by Argentina (4.5 metric tons per person), Chile (4.7), and Mexico (3.9)

Despite the above and according to the environment minister of Colombia, Mr Luis Guillemo Murillo, nearly 12 million Colombians are directly threatened by climate change and at risk from natural disasters like flooding and landslides. Rising temperatures due to global climate change have reduced Colombia’s glaciers by almost 20% over the past six years and the country still suffer from high levels deforestation in the Amazon region mainly due to advancing agricultural lands and illicit crop cultivations. During the Paris Climate Summit of 2015, Colombia reiterated its willingness to bring the Amazon deforestation rate down to zero by 2020.

Colombia’s push to cut emissions should also benefit from the country’s largely untapped alternative energy potential. The Caribbean peninsula of Guajira has been identified by experts as a potential windfarm bonanza. In addition the nation’s three Andean mountain ranges offer many geothermal opportunities, and the country’s location near the equator naturally creates an opportunity for solar generation.

Three steps will remain before the ratification comes into effect. First, the Constitutional Court must carry out a detailed review and grant its approval. Second, the President of the Republic must sign the ratification and finally, the Chanceller will have to notify the United Nations that the process is complete.

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