Chile launches new national action plan on climate change

Chile launched its new national action plan on climate change for the period between 2017 and 2022, the “Plan de Acción Nacional de Cambio Climático 2017-2022” (PANCC-II). In July, the Chilean president Michelle Bachelet presented the document together with the Chilean minister for the environment, Marcelo Mena, and the Chilean minister for public works, Alberto Undurraga. The plan is the second of Chile’s national action plans on climate change, with the first one (named PANCC-I) having framed the country’s climate action from 2008 until 2012, based on Chile’s national strategy on climate change, presented in 2006.

Chile’s PANCC-II is designed within the frameworks of the current government programmes on climate change and the environment as well as with regard to the pledges made by Chile within the Paris agreement. More specifically, these integrate commitments to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 (below 2007 levels), the funding of non-conventional renewable energies through the implementation of a law on energy efficiency, and the reforestation of around 100,000 hectare of woodland, particularly native ones. More practically, the plan focuses on four themes of action: adaptation, mitigation, means of implementation, and climate change management on the regional and communal level. It highlights and summarizes 16 general objectives as well as 30 lines of action, laid out in 96 specific measures. Measures include the periodic evaluation of the vulnerability of human and natural systems in face of climate change, establishing the risks and opportunities it presents, and the implementation of the climate change adaptation plan for biodiversity.

At the launching event, Bachelet emphasised the risks of climate change to humanity in general and Chile in particular, and thus the importance of political action on the issue: “Climate change is perhaps the greatest challenge humanity is facing, due to its devastating effects [and] implications, which are planetary; moreover, and above all, we are not merely talking of damage, but we are talking about damage which is, in its majority, irreversible”. In Chile, she added, these things are well known: “The records of rain, drought, fires, [and] high temperatures, are not phenomena that we see at a distance: they are effects that affect us directly [… ], in the advancing desertification or in retreating glaciers, in violent sea swells, which have destroyed important parts not only of the coast and coastal borders, but also of marine borders, in the alteration of their ecosystems. It has therefore meant significant damage to human as well as animals lives”.

The minister for the environment Marcelo Mena laid out the importance of the new action plan in Chile’s effort against climate change, considering that “Chile is experiencing a warming that is above the global average and we have seen […] in 12 hours the equivalent of 15 years of accumulated rain in Antofagasta, lost salmon production due to the red tide, the biggest forest fire of the decade with 600 thousand hectares lost. […] With our commitment to the climate accord of Paris we are clearly determining the type of development that we want for Chile, and our first step towards this green and carbon-low growth that promotes clean and renewable technologies begins with the National Action Plan on Climate Change 2017-2022”.

According to Mena, climate change is now regarded by most Chileans as their greatest external threat – “what was for some decades climate change alarmism is now a reality in Chile”. Therefore, he claims, “there is no climate negationism” in Chile. To counteract the problems associated with climate change and to further raise awareness, the government has implemented various policies. In June, for instance, a national policy was announced that will bring compulsory climate change classes to Chilean schools.


(Image: Chilean government launches new national action plan on climate change, July 2017. Photo credit: Ministry of the Environment, Government of Chile)