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[ARCHIVO] President Bachelet: “Chile is considered to be among the 30 countries best prepared for climate change”

The President, accompanied by the Energy Minister, Andrés Rebolledo, and the Environment Minister, Marcelo Mena, arrived this morning at the “Quilapilún” Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant in the Santiago district of Colina to enact the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

In her speech, President Bachelet said, “it is not often that we can say that we are taking part in a historic moment. The signing of this agreement is undoubtedly one of those moments. A change of epoch is in the making and we are the proud protagonists of change with a global impact.”

The 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Paris in 2015. The meeting set the goal of keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels because scientific evidence shows that exceeding that level would have irreversible and dangerous consequences.

In this context, the Paris Agreement is an instrument for implementing that convention, which seeks to create a framework for initiating that change, establishing rules, procedures and instruments for moving in that direction based on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.

“While some in other nations irresponsibly insist on questioning this phenomenon, ignoring the evidence provided in the majority of scientific studies, this discussion has ended in Chile. We have recognized that climate change has been produced by human intervention and that human intervention must also provide a response. That is why Chile has decided to take action”, President Bachelet noted.

She added that “today, at an international level, we are considered to be among the 30 countries best prepared for climate change. We have made plans to adapt our agriculture, healthcare and aquaculture, and we are starting to work on the areas of infrastructure, energy and cities.”

50% of the energy capacity installed during President Bachelet’s government comes from Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) sources. In fact, 75% of the new energy projects that came online last year are generated from NCRE sources.

While public tenders were expensive in 2013 and only supplied energy from conventional sources, the reforms introduced in energy policy have brought greater competition and dynamism to the sector. Chile has thus achieved an energy grid with a greater share of NCRE and both costs and emissions have been more than halved.

“This is an unprecedented energy transition, without resorting to subsidies, in which we have broken the record for the cheapest energy offered in the whole world; today it is seen by other nations as the path to follow. Our energy policy and our approach to climate change are a clear refutation of those who propagate the pathetic caricature that Chile is a country which does not progress. The law passed today, and all that we are seeing here today, are deeds, not words,” the President added.

During her visit to the Quilapilún Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant and the enactment of the Paris Agreement, President Bachelet also talked about how the Sustainability and Climate Change Agency, the creation of which she announced on May 21 last year, would operate.

“The objective of this agency will be to generate agreements with different business sectors to adapt to climate change and reduce emissions. The agency will look for solutions to the challenges facing industry and coordinate their implementation, as well as providing funding. It will function throughout Chile and will initially come under the control of the Environment Minister,” the President concluded.

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