Climate Action

Chile emulates South Africa’s example in climate change mitigation

Chile is turning to South Africa to help define effective strategies for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with the aim of helping to mitigate global climate change. The Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) initiative, which is promoted in Chile by Sebastián Piñera government, is a collaboration of developing nations to explore the options for mitigating climate change while encouraging economic development.

  • 11 December 2012
  • Chile is turning to South Africa to help define effective strategies for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with the aim of helping to mitigate global climate change. The Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) initiative, which is promoted in Chile by Sebastián Piñera government, is a collaboration of developing nations to explore the options for mitigating climate change while encouraging economic development. MAPS grew out of the experience of the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) process that took place in South Africa between 2005 and 2008. The LTMS guided South Africa's position at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in 2009 in Copenhagen. This success led to MAPS International, directed by the University of Cape Town's Energy Research Centre in partnership with the NGO SouthSouthNorth, and with financial support from the UK based Children's Investment Fund Foundation.
Villarrica Volcano, Chile: Chile's ecosystems, biodiversity and landscapes are threatened by climate change
Villarrica Volcano, Chile: Chile's ecosystems, biodiversity and landscapes are threatened by climate change

Chile is turning to South Africa to help define effective strategies for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with the aim of helping to mitigate global climate change.

The Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) initiative, which is promoted in Chile by Sebastián Piñera's government, is a collaboration of developing nations to explore the options for mitigating climate change while encouraging economic development.

MAPS grew out of the experience of the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) process that took place in South Africa between 2005 and 2008.

The LTMS guided South Africa's position at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in 2009 in Copenhagen.

This success led to MAPS International, directed by the University of Cape Town's Energy Research Centre in partnership with the NGO SouthSouthNorth, and with financial support from the UK based Children's Investment Fund Foundation.

The search for developing countries interested in solutions for reducing their GHG emissions led to Latin America, and MAPS country projects are now underway in Brazil, Colombia and Peru and Chile.

Although Chile is a minor contributor to global GHG emissions (approximately emitting 0.2% of the globes GHG's), the country's rate of emissions has grown at an alarming rate, increasing by over 230 per cent between 1990 and 2006, according to the Ministry of Environment.

In response, Chile made a voluntary commitment at the COP meetings in Copenhagen to reduce its emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.

The fast growth in GHG emissions has been attributed to the rise of the counrty's energy sector and in particular the development of thermoelectric power generation,

For Juan Pablo Orrego, president of the Chilean NGO Ecosistemas, this trend "is very troubling and is due to an extreme lack of caution, but also, and above all, to the sharp rise in the carbon intensity of the energy mix."

For the moment, MAPS Chile is focusing on laying the groundwork for the project, assessing potential emissions trajectories under two possible scenarios.

The first is the "business as usual" scenario, in which no changes are made to the current situation. The other is the "required by science" scenario, which would entail following the most stringent recommendations of climate experts to limit and reduce GHG emissions.

During the first phase of MAPS Chile, these two trajectories are being studied to establish an emissions baseline.

The second study theoretically estimates future volumes of Chilean GHG emissions based on data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The second phase of the project will involve the development of alternative pathways to the mitigation of emissions.

Finally, the third phase, scheduled for late 2013, will focus on the dissemination of the findings and the analysis of mitigation initiatives, both public and private, with decision makers in the government, private sector and civil society.