The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched its flagship report, Getting to Net-Zero Emissions: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) under the Chilean presidency currently underway in Madrid, Spain. The new report shows that achieving net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) is not only necessary to reach the Paris Agreement goals, but it is also technically possible and can bring multiple economic benefits to the region.
The transition to net-zero emissions is possible by producing zero carbon electricity; electrifying industry, transport, heating, and cooking; increasing the provision of public non-motorized transportation; managing and regenerating natural carbon sinks; and by improving resource use efficiency, reducing waste, and minimizing carbon intensity in construction and diets.
Moreover, in all six countries analyzed in the publication, scenarios show that it is possible to steadily increase GDP per capita while emissions drop from by 55-100% by 2050. In the case of Costa Rica, for example, decarbonizing the transport sector will bring total net benefits of nearly US$20 billion by 2050, as a result of the reduced negative impacts of air pollution on health, time saved from reduced congestion, fewer accidents, and lower operating costs. These benefits more than compensate for the initially higher upfront costs of switching to electric vehicles.
The report also shows that Latin America and the Caribbean countries are producing compelling evidence on how to work with stakeholders from government, civil society, academia and the private sector to design long-term strategies that integrate economic, social and decarbonization goals. These long-term strategies can also guide the design of more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement, help governments to anticipate costs and ensure a just transition to net-zero emissions, while identifying the immediate policy reforms and investment priorities necessary to unlock the transformation.
Over 190 countries are meeting in COP25 to discuss how to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global heating to well below 2 degrees. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that meeting this goal requires reaching net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by around midcentury.
The publication is a key output of the Deep Carbonization Pathways in Latin America and the Caribbean (DDPLAC), which supports academia and think tanks in six countries (Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico) to develop decarbonisation pathways. The project is led by the Inter-American Development Bank, in partnership with the 2050 Pathways Platform and the French Development Agency, with technical coordination provided by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.
About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.