Chile

   

Environmental Policies

#31
Key Findings
With an ambitious but often market-focused environmental framework, Chile scores comparatively poorly (rank 31) with regard to environmental policies. However, its score in this area has improved by 0.9 points relative to 2014.

Environmental institutions have been modernized in recent years, with oversight bodies becoming increasingly effective. However, policy is oriented toward international market requirements rather than toward sustainability. While industrial interests have considerable influence, particularly in the fields of water use and forestry, courts have occasionally halted development on environmental grounds.

A green tax has been in place in the energy sector since 2017. A bill containing an emissions-reduction and climate-governance system has been in the works for some time, and was expected to reach parliament in 2020. The bill foresees carbon neutrality by 2050.

The capital city of Santiago has implemented a number of initiatives aimed at diminishing air pollution and promoting sustainable public transport. The country signed the Paris Agreement in 2016. It was slated to host the 2019 COP25 UN Climate Conference, but this was canceled due to the political crisis.

Environment

#26

How effectively does environmental policy in your country protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and environmental quality?

10
 9

Environmental policy goals are ambitious and effectively implemented as well as monitored within and across most relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy goals are mainly ambitious and effectively implemented and are monitored within and across some of the relevant policy sectors that account for the largest share of resource use and emissions.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy goals are neither particularly ambitious nor are they effectively implemented and coordinated across relevant policy sectors.
 2
 1

Environmental concerns have been largely abandoned.
Environmental Policy
6
In general terms, environmental-policy goals tend to be ambitious, especially when taking into account the country’s economic structure and dependence on natural resources. As several studies show, Chile is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. For this reason, the country has initiated an active climate agenda coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment and the Council of Ministers for Sustainability, which includes mitigation and adaptation measures by various sectoral authorities.

Chile has an efficient but scarcely restrictive environmental regulatory system. From 2010 onwards, it has boasted a modern environmental institutional system. For example, the former National Commission for Environmental Issues (Comisión Nacional del Medio Ambiente) was upgraded to the Ministry of Environment (Ministerio del Medio Ambiente). Some progress has been achieved regarding the creation and implementation of complementary institutions, such as environmental tribunals (Tribunales Ambientales) and a chairperson for the environment (Superintendencia Ambiental). In September 2016, Chile signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, which was ratified in January 2017.

However, Chilean environmental policy prioritizes compliance with standards required by international markets, and thus does not necessarily focus on non-commercial aspects like ecological sustainability. In addition, Chilean environmental policy is also subject to major domestic political pressure by the industrial sector, especially in the field of water and forestry use and regulation. This constraint often leads to clashes over the protection, preservation and sustainability of natural resources and the quality of the environment. The judiciary has often acted to stop investments and projects on ecological-sustainability grounds. Tangible environmental-policy impacts on the productive sectors tends to take the form of ex post fines (applied once the law has been violated) rather of preventive regulations and compliance. This weakness can be observed, for example, in the fishery industry. In the field of agriculture and mining, water-use rights and their environmental, social and economic impact have become a prominent public issue. However, especially in the field of water-use rights, environmental concerns are often not integrated across relevant policy sectors.

Chile has imposed a green tax on the energy sector since 2017 with the goal of lowering CO2 emissions and favoring ecologically efficient production. The country is poised to enact a climate change law (Ley de Cambio Climático) intended to establish a more effective climate governance system and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. A preliminary draft of the law proposal has been drafted, and it is scheduled to be presented to parliament in 2020. With this initiative, Chile is seeking to become carbon neutral by 2050.

A number of recent initiatives in the capital city of Santiago have been taken with the aim of diminishing air pollution and promoting a more sustainable public transport system (e.g., the implementation of electric buses and a significant increase in bicycle paths).

Chile was scheduled to host the COP25 U.N. Climate Conference in December 2019; however, President Piñera canceled the summit due to the political and social crisis of October 2019.

Citations:
http://www.sma.gob.cl/

http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9444.php

http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9444.php

http://www.senado.cl/ratifican-acuerdo-de-paris-sobre-cambio-climatico/prontus_senado/2017-01-25/110753.html

http://www.oecd.org/chile/oecd-environmental-performance-reviews-chile-2016-9789264252615-en.htm

https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment/oecd-environmental-performance-reviews-chile-2016_9789264252615-en#page1

https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/chile/

Cop25:
https://www.cop25.cl/

About the Climate Change Law initiative:
https://mma.gob.cl/proceso-de-consulta-publica-del-anteproyecto-de-ley-marco-de-cambio-climatico/

https://ciperchile.cl/2019/08/30/ley-marco-de-cambio-climatico-construyamos-una-institucionalidad-con-capacidad-transformadora/

http://leycambioclimatico.cl/leyccchile/

https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/electric-buses-put-chile-path-healthier-tomorrow

https://latinamerica.uitp.org/investments-public-transport-santiago-de-chile

Global Environmental Protection

#36

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, contributes to their being advanced and has introduced appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally contributes to their being advanced and/or has introduced some appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but does not contribute to their being advanced and has not introduced appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
6
The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and international efforts but it is not a genuine promoter of global environmental protection. There has been at least one specific initiative regarding the protection of Antarctica, but in general terms, the government neither initiates significant reforms nor plays a leading role in their advancement within the international community. Chile signed the Paris Agreement on climate change in September 2016, which was ratified by the parliament in January 2017.

The country was scheduled to host the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2019, but due to the social crisis of October 2019, President Piñera canceled the summit. The intention to assume the role as host can be seen as signaling an intention to play a more active role in global environmental-protection initiatives.

Citations:
http://www.senado.cl/ratifican-acuerdo-de-paris-sobre-cambio-climatico/prontus_senado/2017-01-25/110753.html

http://www.oecd.org/env/country-reviews/34856244.pdf

http://www.oecd.org/chile/oecd-environmental-performance-reviews-chile-2016-9789264252615-en.htm

https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment/oecd-environmental-performance-reviews-chile-2016_9789264252615-en#page1
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