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Colombia Produces Minimal Greenhouse Gas Emissions


ecopetrol factory
Colombia is among the lowest producers of greenhouse gas emissions compared to other countries. Credit: A.P. / Colombia One

In the global landscape of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), Colombia has emerged as a minimal contributor compared to other countries.

In 2021, the South American country produced approximately 91.69 million tons of CO2, accounting for just 0.25% of the global total, which reached 37.000 billion tons that year.

The accumulated CO2 emissions since 1750 attributed to Colombia accounted for only 0.20% of the total. In the overall scope of all greenhouse gases, the country contributed 0.58%, roughly translating to about 275.17 million tons.

Colombia an example for the world

These figures position Colombia as a peripheral actor in terms of direct impact on global warming. The largest contributions come from a select group of nations: China, the United States, India, Japan, and Russia, which together contributed nearly 57% of global emissions in 2021.

Excessive attention towards energy transition has been highlighted as an exaggeration, especially considering that Colombia already has a highly sustainable electricity sector, thanks to the significant involvement of hydroelectric power. This situation contrasts with current trends to replace this source with solar panels or wind energy.

Approaches and challenges

It is suggested that instead of focusing on energy changes, the country should channel efforts towards environmental conservation, avoiding deforestation and promoting reforestation, implementing efficient waste management, and reducing emissions.

Prioritizing energy efficiency is also necessary, as studies suggest there’s a 30% margin for improvement in current energy consumption, representing a valuable investment for the country.

However, criticism is directed towards the continuation of an environmental policy that seems to follow the line of previous administrations, focusing disproportionate attention on energy-related aspects and blindly following eurocentric strategies that do not align with Colombia’s reality and potential.

This stance is labeled as a “new colonialism,” an approach that erroneously equates Colombia with Europe and blindly follows its guidelines, as highlighted by Luis Ignacio Lula. The need for a more autonomous approach tailored to the country’s characteristics presents itself as a key challenge for a sustainable future.

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