JUNE 13, 2022

A milestone in Chile’s environmental history: From today, we have our first Framework Law on Climate Change

The regulations impose carbon neutrality and climate resilience goals to be met no later than 2050, and establish concrete actions that 17 ministries must follow to address climate change.

The Framework Law on Climate Change was published in the Official Gazette this Monday, June 13. These are historic regulations that put Chile at the forefront of the region in terms of caring for the environment.

The law establishes the goal for the country to be carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2050 at the latest. This date could even be brought forward if circumstances allow, as it will be reviewed every five years. The law also establishes concrete actions for 17 ministries to follow to address climate change.

- But why is the Framework Law on Climate Change so important?

- Because Chile did not have a legal framework that allowed the country to assign responsibility for reducing emissions or demand the implementation and reporting of measures to mitigate emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. This legislation is also key because it allows us to establish the fight against climate change as a state policy, as well as to define the mechanisms that the country will use to face this phenomenon.

- What are its objectives?

- The Framework Law on Climate Change establishes the goal for the country to be carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2050 at the latest. It also seeks to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, adapt to the impacts generated by abnormal tidal swells, temperature increases, floods, droughts and other things, and enhance food security, increase water availability and reduce pollution and health risks.

- Who has to comply with the law?

- Specifically, the law establishes powers and obligations at the central level, but also at the regional and local levels. It therefore involves 17 ministries, regional governments and all the municipalities in Chile, and obliges them to adopt concrete actions to address climate change.

- Why is this law important for Chile?

- Because we are the first developing country to establish carbon neutrality as law. To get there, the 2050 goal is very ambitious, but it complies with what the science tells us is required.

- Can carbon neutrality be brought forward?

- Yes, the project establishes the possibility of bringing forward the goal if there is evidence to justify it (under a series of requirements).

- Is it only the public sector that has to comply with the law?

- In practice, this law is important because it involves the public and private sectors in taking up the challenge of carbon neutrality.

- What other measures are included in the regulations?

- The law also recognizes the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which contain Chile’s commitments to the international community in mitigating and adapting to climate change, establishing the areas in which we will make progress. It also establishes the Long-Term Climate Strategy, a roadmap that details how the country will fulfill its commitments through concrete actions over a 30-year period. The law also makes it necessary to draw up sector-specific mitigation and adaptation plans with concrete measures and actions to meet these goals.

- What does the law specify in regard to water?

- The regulations mandate the development of strategic water basin resource plans for the country’s 101 water basins. This is to seek the optimal management and availability of water.  

- What role does the Treasury Ministry play?

- This law places specific obligations on the Treasury, establishing the obligation for the State to report public climate investment every year. It also states that financial institutions must annually declare the climate impacts and risks of their private investment projects.