The agricultural sector and deforestation are the largest GHG emitters in Colombia

The agricultural sector and deforestation are the largest GHG emitters in Colombia

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Interview with Pilar Celi Frías (@pilicefri)

GHG emissions in Colombia increased by 15% during the last 20 years, and it is estimated that, in the future, the main impacts of climate change will be evidenced in coastal areas due to flood threats. These conclusions were recently presented in the Third National Communication of Colombia.

National communications are periodic reports that the member countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) present to report on vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation measures, among other issues related to the progress of the countries against climate change. climate change.

ConexionCOP spoke with Omar Franco Torres, director of the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) who highlighted the contribution of this Third Communication to science, knowledge and the development of public policies.

Why is the Third Communication on Climate Change important in Colombia?

We are making known to Colombia the first national greenhouse gas inventory on a regional scale that had not been done before. Now we can know how the emissions are concentrated in each department, what type of industry is generating them and with that information we can already carry out public management associated with the environmental issue, in which a reduction in emissions prevails and generates a cleaner production process.

In addition, it is possible to demystify the approximations that people have regarding the generation of emissions, since now we already know who is who and it is possible to stop having perceptions to point out specific actors of the economy without being founded.

So, now it is possible to say which are the great emitting industries in Colombia?

It is important to say that, for example, the forestry sector produces a large amount of emissions: in Colombia we are deforesting almost 124 thousand hectares of natural forest per year. On the other hand, emissions in the mines and energy sector have grown by 53% from 1990 to 2012 as a result of the automobile fleet and the flow of commercial dynamics in aviation.

However, it is incredible to recognize that the largest GHG emitter in Colombia is the agricultural sector, due to the change in land use associated with crops and cattle production. Currently we can clearly say who is responsible for the task of contributing to the reduction of GHG and achieving the goal that Colombia has committed to before the UNFCCC of reducing 20% ​​of its GHG by 2030, and additionally we can produce in a greener way and sustainable.

How do you get the Third Communication to exert pressure and generate a change in production?

This document is built with the support of the National Planning Department, an organization at the national level that has a range of ministry that has the responsibility of monitoring public policies. Our alliance aims to guarantee that the information in the Third Communication is taken into account for the elaboration of sectoral public policies.

If we name the sectors, we will find that there are companies that emit a greater amount of GHG. Is the Third Communication also an opportunity for organizations to generate change and be more sustainable?

In the document we do not point out a specific company in a specific way because it is applied at the sectoral level. But for example, in the agricultural sector we can clearly have information that permanent crops such as coffee and oil palm have a significant emission level, but we are very far from saying this or that company because we would not contribute to the debate, the sectors must Do your self-assessment so that Colombia can reduce its GHG emissions.

So, can it also be said that the coffee sector has to make greater efforts to reduce GHGs?

Of course. All Colombian coffee growing is organized from a scientific point of view, for example Cenicafé works through the National Committee of Coffee Growers, which is a very important organization. What we do is make the information known, of course understanding that the coffee sector is a very important ally, it is even contributing to the absorption of CO2. What we are doing is building a strategic line of scientific and technical cooperation.

The Paris Agreement and COP22

What is your reading of the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement is a decision that manages to give a route to the world to work as a team. Climate change has no borders, the world is changing, ecosystems are changing substantially, the lack of awareness about the rational use of natural resources has generated what we are experiencing, we have to get to work. COP22 in Marrakech is also significant but much more actions and political will are lacking to continue contributing to reducing emissions.

Is there a real commitment in Colombia to the Paris Agreement?

In Colombia we are very committed, we want to contribute to reducing the planet's temperature. Our commitment is very important regarding the conservation of our forests because we want to reduce deforestation to zero with international cooperation investments. We are an Amazonian country and we have a responsibility to protect and preserve forests.

COP connection

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