About

Colombia faces a variety of vulnerabilities to climate change and air pollution, from the parched Andes mountains, to the country’s extensive coastline and rapidly urbanizing population.  

Luckily, Colombia’s leaders are playing an active role in combatting these threats, exemplified by the decision to partner with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in 2012 and then take on a leadership role by joining the Steering Committee for a two-year term in 2020. The CCAC’s work is aligned with what the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development are doing to mitigate climate change and develop strategies to prevent and control air pollution.

Currently Colombia participates in the SNAP (Supporting National Action and Planning), Bricks, Urban Health and Mineral Methane Initiatives.

As part of its work with the SNAP Initiative, Colombia developed a National Strategy for the Mitigation of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) in 2018 to implement reduction strategies while developing a mechanism to evaluate their impact on air quality in tandem with climate change. The strategy identifies measures to reduce SLCPs in three key sources: oil and gas production, open agricultural burning and coke production.

Colombia is one of the countries supported by the CCAC’s Oil and Gas Peer-to-Peer Regulatory Support activity, which is helping the sector regulate emissions in a targeted way. Ecopetrol, the largest petroleum company in Colombia, began seriously tackling methane emissions in 2019 by joining forces with other companies through the CCAC’s Oil and Gas Methane Partnership. In 2020, the country went further with a CCAC technology demonstration project carried out by Clearstone Engineering Ltd., which is helping oil and gas companies identify high-impact and cost-effective opportunities to reduce emissions from flaring by recovering high-value, condensable liquids from flared gas. This solution will help companies improve lives while also increasing profits because recovering these liquids can both reduce emissions and add to revenue.

In 2018, the country published its strategy for the implementation of sustainable development objectives (ODS) in Colombia, highlighting the ways the country stands out in its leadership on the Sustainable Development Goals, alliances for climate change, and the adoption of global standards like those developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Colombia has also passed comprehensive national policies on climate change, including a 2015 commitment to reduce 20 percent of its projected emissions of greenhouse gases by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Contributions, or commitment to climate change mitigation. The 2018 Green Growth Policy establishes trajectories of growth that guarantee long-term economic development, conservation of natural capital, improved social welfare, and increased climate security. The 2018 Law for the Management of Climate Change establishes guidelines to promote a transition towards a competitive, sustainable economy and low-carbon development. Law 1391 of 27 July 2018 establishes guidelines for the management of climate change and a National Climate Change System.

Colombia is also a member of the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC), a group of eight countries working together on the multilateral negotiations on climate change to achieve a version of sustainable development that is responsible to the environment and future generations.

“We need to take advantage of what we have experienced with the pandemic. It allows us to evaluate what has been useful to improve air quality and see which measures – home offices, different distribution of work schedules and active transportation – can be included as a part of a transition in this new normality,” said Pan American Health Organization’s Colombia representative, Gina Tambini at a 2020 panel for World Environment Day in BreatheLife city Medellin.

See more examples of Colomia's actions below.

CCAC activities

Activity | Waste
Colombia | Ongoing
The Coalition's Municipal Solid Waste Initiative has provided support to the city of Cali (Colombia) for an organic waste management project that can reduce short-lived climate pollutant and...
Cali, Colombia
Workstream | HFC
Ongoing
HFCs have a wide range of uses, including in foams, refrigeration, and aerosols, and manufacturers tend to use well-known existing technology solutions that currently are not as climate-friendly as...
Workstream | Bricks
Ongoing
A greater understanding of the brick sector’s pollution and climate impacts is needed in order to address black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) emissions. The Coalition’s...
Black carbon measurements
Workstream | Bricks
Ongoing
The Coalition provides training to brick kiln entrepreneurs, policy makers and implementers, and key consumers to facilitate the adoption of modern kiln technologies and practices. In many developing...
Bricks field training in Pakistan

Other activities

Bricks

  • In 2020, a project implemented by Corporación Empresarial Ambiental (CAEM) and sponsored by the CCAC was awarded the Sustainable Development Goals Award under the non-business category by the Global Compact Network for Colombia and the Bogota Chamber of Commerce. The award honours outstanding practices by companies and civil society that contribute to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
  • In 2020, the Ministry of Environment and CAEM began formulating the Mitigation Actions Compendium for Bricks Sector as a tool to promote the technological reconversion of this sector within the framework of new environmental challenges and demands.
  • In 2019, Colombia developed a National Circular Economy Strategy. It prioritizes six action lines based on the flow of materials considering their potential use, added value and available technology.
  • In 2018, Colombia amended resolution 909/2008 on air emission or discharge standards for stationary sources relating to the brick sector. This is the result of the CAEM's efforts under a CCAC-supported project, which led to the formation of an inter-disciplinary roundtable between public authorities and brick producers.
  • In 2019, Black Carbon measurements were finalized with twenty-seven additional measurements deployed, consolidating a total of 230 hours of measurement that helped define three new emission factors and completed seven national emission factors, developing the first portfolio of black carbon reduction measures for the brick sector.
  • In 2016, the CCAC and Colombia developed an Inventory and Assessment Tool in Colombia for black carbon and other emissions from the brick sector to help policy makers assess and make strategic decisions about the sector and promote awareness and incentives for brick producers.
  • Since 2015, The CCAC has been working with CAEM to concretely reduce black carbon and carbon dioxide emissions, given the development and health co-benefits. The first phase of work focused on assessing the application of the black carbon measurement instrument known as Ratnoze2 and the Climate Accounting, Measurement and Analysis (CLIAMA) Sampling Protocol in Colombia. After that it involved conducting a field evaluation of the black carbon sample kit instrument on brick kilns.

Transportation

  • In 2018, Colombia published the technical document on soot free public transport “Mass Public Transport—Soot Free and More Efficient,” to raise awareness on the potential benefits of improving public transport on air quality and climate in Colombia. This work was undertaken partially because the CCAC assessed that Colombian cities (and Latin American cities in generally) have significant opportunities to make public transport cleaner and more efficient, thereby reducing short-lived climate pollutants.
  • By 2019, Colombia had committed to implementing soot-free standards for new heavy-duty diesel engines by 2025. By 2023, Colombia will complete the transition to ultralow-sulfur diesel and by 2035, all in-use Heavy Duty Vehicles will meet these standards.
  • In 2019, the National Government launched the National Strategy for Electric Mobility.

Air Quality

  • In 2017, Colombia passed Resolution No. 2254 which establishes air quality standards and emissions levels to better protect the environment and human health.
  • In 2017, the Aburra Valley region joined the CCAC’s BreatheLife Campaign with a variety of commitments to reduce air pollution from particulate matter (PM 2.5). The metropolitan area’s plan includes an upgrade of public transit, an expansion of cycling accommodations, more sustainable production in industry and agriculture, and a plan to monitor network and data intelligence to better track air quality.
  • In 2019, the fast-growing city of Barranquilla joined the BreatheLife Campaign with a focus on combatting air pollution from industry and waste management. The city further committed to developing an air quality management plan in 2018.
  • In 2020, BreatheLife member Bogota unveiled an ambitious plan to cut air pollution by 10 percent in four years. The District Development Plan, is “a new social and environmental contract for the 21st century,” and allocates billions of dollars to a green recovery from COVID-19.
  • In 2019, Bogota announced that it had ordered 379 electric buses and the same year Medellin announced that it was unrolling a 64-strong electric bus fleet.
  • In 2018, Caldas joined BreatheLife, focusing on road transport emissions.
  • In 2017, BreatheLife member Medellin approved and launched PIGECA 2017-2030, an air quality plan by the Metropolitan Area of Aburra Valley in collaboration with the Clean Air Institute. This was responsible in part for reducing the number of days the city's red alert for air pollution was triggered from 30 in 2016 to just one in 2018.
  • In 2018, Santiago de Cali joined BreatheLife after developing comprehensive climate and clean air plans which included scrapping around 4,000 buses, introducing cleaner vehicles to its integrated public transportation system, promoting the use of bikes, and encouraging a switch from diesel to electric vehicles.
  • In 2019, Colombia released the “National air quality strategy: 2019 - 2022.” This document was formulated with the objective of improving air quality in urban areas, with emphasis on reducing particulate matter.

Cooling and Energy Efficiency

  • In 2016, Resolution 41286 adopted the Colombia Indicative Action Plan on Energy Efficiency, a plan for the years 2017 to 2022. This plan defines specific objectives and goals to increase energy efficiency by targeting the transport and industry sectors as well as some of the country’s biggest energy consumers. It is expected to reduce short-lived climate pollutant emissions, particularly black carbon. 
  • In 2015, Colombia did a Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Emissions Assessment with the CCAC based on information and materials generated in an earlier HFC review supported by the CCAC.
  • Starting in 2016, many household appliances including refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners are required to display energy efficiency labels. In 2017, these labels became mandatory for commercial refrigeration equipment and gas appliances, like cooking equipment and water heaters.
  • Since 2019, Colombia has been working towards a NAMA (concrete measures to achieve Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for the Domestic Refrigeration Sector. Colombia’s NAMA Support Project is working towards a variety of ambitious goals, including a ban on HFCs, the application of Minimum Efficiency Standards in the domestic refrigeration sector, and an innovative financing mechanism to safely replace old appliances.
  • In 2019, as part of the NAMA Support Project, 21 technicians from domestic refrigerator producers were trained on safe maintenance and repairs and technical advice on best practices for domestic production of refrigerators was developed.

Energy

  • In 2019, Ecopetrol, Colombia’s largest petroleum company, announced as progress in its decarbonisation plan the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030. Additionally, it contributed 1 million tons of CO2e to the national mitigation goal of 36 Million tons of CO2 equivalents.
  • In 2018, the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MinEnergía) adopted the Comprehensive Climate Change Management Plan for the Mining Energy Sector (PIGCCme) through Resolution 40807. It aims to reduce climate change vulnerability and promote low-carbon development by strengthening both the sustainability and competitiveness of the mining sector.
  • In 2017, Ecopetrol announced its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Santander, in northern Colombia, by taking actions to reduce 410,000 tons of CO2 equivalent from its operations with measures including decreasing methane venting in gas production.

Waste
   

  • From 2014 to 2016, Colombia’s Zero Waste or ‘Basura Cero’ approach increased solid waste management by introducing an integrated and sustainable approach to decrease landfilling and increase recycling.
  • In 2014, the CCAC’s Municipal Solid Waste Initiative supported the city of Cali in developing an organic waste management study aimed to reduce SLCPs and greenhouse gas emissions while delivering other social and economic co-benefits.
  • In 2016, the National Policy for the Integral Management of Solid Waste laid out a nationwide plan for preventing waste generation, minimizing how much waste goes to disposal sites, promoting the reuse and treatment of solid waste for things like renewable energy to improve the country’s health and the environment.

Related resources

2018 | Policies, Plans & Regulations


The purpose of this law is to establish guidelines for the management of climate change in the decisions of public and private persons, the concurrence of the Nation, Departments,...

 Law for the Management of Climate Change
2018 | Policies, Plans & Regulations

The purpose of the Green Growth Policy is to boost the productivity and economic competitiveness of the country by 2030, while ensuring the sustainable use of natural capital and social inclusion...

Colombia's Green Growth Policy
2018 | Policies, Plans & Regulations

With Corporación Ambiental Empresarial’s (CAEM), the Coalition supported the amendment of  Colombia’s resolution 909/2008 on air emission or discharge standards for stationary (point) sources...

2018 | Reports, Case Studies & Assessments
, Herrera, G.; Fernanda, L.; Barragán, L. Alejandra, M.; Gaitan, M.

This document is a technical document on soot free public transport to raise awareness on the benefits to air quality and climate in Colombia.

Worldwide, the transport sector contributes...

Mass public transport- soot free and more efficient
2017 | Policies, Plans & Regulations

The decree sets out the rules for using offsets to comply with the new carbon tax establishes some high-level criteria that projects have to meet. The main criteria require that emission...

DECREE 926

Address

Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Calle 37 No.8-40
Bogota
Colombia
Back to Top