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JAN. 10, 2020

The Government unveils climate change bill designed to decrease the negative impacts of climate change in Chile

The initiative seeks to make Chile carbon neutral by 2050 and incentivize environmental donations by companies and individuals in order to protect, care for and conserve the environment and to promote climate action projects.

Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt announced that the government has submitted to Congress a bill for a climate change framework law to establish the foundations for making cross-cutting changes in Chile by promoting low-emission climate-resilient development in order to decrease the impact of climate change on people.

The bill seeks to establish a legal framework that would assign specific responsibilities for the implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, promoting sustainable development that balances social, environmental and economic interests while maintaining a focus on people.

Minister Schmidt stated that the bill “sets clear goals for climate change mitigation and adaptation, incorporating the concept of water security and highlighting the actions needed to reduce Chile’s vulnerability and boost its resilience to climate change.”

The minister stated that the bill sets a national target of carbon neutrality by 2050, which means that it will balance greenhouse gas emissions and absorption. This will make Chile the first developing nation to pass a law based on that target.

The bill also contains seven management tools to enable this goal to be reached. For example, a Long-term Climate Strategy will set a total greenhouse gas emissions budget for 2030 and 2050 and adaptation goals for each sector, which must be met within ten years. Furthermore, it contains guidelines for climate change adaptation and risk assessment based on the vulnerability of each specific sector.

The law also establishes the need for mitigation plans to be drawn up for each sector aimed at reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. These will analyze the areas in which Chile is vulnerable and propose actions to reduce the risks of climate change impacts to which everyone in Chile is exposed.

Strategic Water Resource Plans will also be mandatory for Chile’s 101 river basins in order to ensure water security and safeguard access to adequate water at the local level in terms of both quantity and quality. This will ensure sustainable water use over time for health, subsistence, socioeconomic development and the conservation of ecosystems.

Among the other instruments proposed by the bill is the formalization of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) as an intermediate goal for achieving emissions neutrality by 2030 and the drafting of a National Climate Change Action Report and Regional Climate Change Action Plans.

Donations Mechanism

The law will create incentives for environmental donations for protecting, caring for and conserving the environment and promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation projects.

These donations by companies or individuals may be earmarked for a specific purpose, such as financial support for maintaining a protected area, nature sanctuary management plans or solar panels for indigenous communities, to name but a few.

The contributions may come in the form of money, goods or real estate donated by people and organizations through the Environmental Protection Fund (Fondo de Protección Ambiental, FPA).

The initiative will also authorize the Environment Ministry to regulate greenhouse gases for the first time in Chile, creating a limit on emissions by source or group of sources. This mechanism will require companies to adopt better existing technologies to meet the new regulations that are drafted.

Based on the cross-cutting nature of climate change, the bill proposes a reform of the Ministerial Council for Sustainability to include the Education and Science Ministries and to give the Council new powers.