Colombia’s carbon tax, which was passed into law in 2017, is likely to be the most effective policy measure to help the South American country steer its economy towards a lower-carbon development path. This will offset the two other key factors that might otherwise cause the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to rise: the falling cost of mining coal, and the fact that the country will eventually reach the limits of its hydroelectric power potential.
Even though Colombia’s GHG emissions profile is low, relative to global emissions patterns, this is likely to increase if it continues on its current development trajectory. The country still has about 92 years’ worth of coal reserves, a resource that will buffer the country against the impact that climate change will have on its water sources, upon which the country’s hydroelectricity supply depends.
However, a team of economists and engineering scholars, one of which is Professor Santiago Arango-Aramburo with the School of Mines from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, has worked with the country’s National Planning Commission (NPC) to design a carbon tax that they estimate will reduce the country’s emissions by 45% by the middle of this century.