April 22, 2024 #ChileSustentable

Earth Day: Four Chilean commitments to protect the planet

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Wind energy propellers located in the Coquimbo Region

Increased use of renewable energies, climate change mitigation legislation and international agreements on ocean protection are some of the initiatives the country has been working on for years.

Thus, on April 22, 1970, Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson organized a massive demonstration with the aim of raising awareness about the environment, especially in the educational sector. But it was not until 2009, almost 40 years later, that the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this date as International Mother Earth Day, a tribute to care for the planet and its natural resources.

Cyclists on bike paths in Parque Forestal, Santiago, Metropolitan Region.

One of Chile's main current commitments is to care for the environment and sustainable development. This Earth Day, we present four examples of what our country is doing to face this global challenge:

63% of energy generated by renewable sources in 2023

According to measurements made by the National Electric Coordinator, a significant reduction in CO2 emissions was recorded at the end of 2023. Coal-fired thermal generation fell 27% last year, as a result of an increase in hydro, solar and wind generation. Likewise, 63% of the National Electric System's energy was generated by renewable sources in 2023.  

One of the main pillars to achieve carbon neutrality is to move towards a clean energy matrix and leave fossil fuels behind, which is why Chile has proposed to progressively close coal-fired power plants and increase the construction of non-conventional renewable energy plants by 2040.

Photovoltaic plant located in the Antofagasta Region.

Framework Law on Climate Change

Enacted in June 2022, it is the first law of its kind in Latin America. It establishes, among other measures, a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest, and to reduce vulnerability and increase the country's resilience to the adverse effects of climate change. The law creates a legal framework for Chile to face this global crisis in terms of mitigation and adaptation, with a long-term view. To this end, it formalizes the existing institutional framework, defining responsibilities and obligations for 13 ministries and all the country's regions and municipalities.

Agenda 2030

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly approved the 2030 Agenda, which constitutes the global sustainable development agenda guideline for the next 15 years, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. Chile, part of the 193 signatory States, developed the "Planet" work axis to comply with the Agenda. As part of the measures to address climate change mitigation, our country has developed, for example, Atmospheric Decontamination Plans that are the instrument to advance in the reduction of pollution in latent or saturated areas with high concentrations. 

It also established measures to protect underwater life, terrestrial life, promote sustainable cities, and responsible consumption and production, among other measures.

BBNJ: a historic step for the protection of the oceans

Chile is the first country in the Americas and the second in the world to sign and ratify the Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdictions (BBNJ), a key piece in the global ocean governance system, in which Chile, with more than 4,000 km of coastline, actively participates.

With this treaty, one of the main objectives is to conserve the rich marine fauna that our country possesses.

The ocean covers more than 70% of the planet's surface and only 1% of the ocean surface is protected. The BBNJ treaty introduces regulation of marine genetic resources on the high seas, equitable benefit sharing, mechanisms for the creation of marine protected areas, implementation of environmental impact assessments, and capacity building and technology transfer to developing countries.

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