Argentina Checkup

Argentina—Standing Still

In a recent article titled “El país, más activo contra el cambio climático” (The Most Active Country Against Climate Change), Lucas Viano highlights some of the positive steps Argentina has taken since the Paris Agreement. The author cites influential climate experts like Juan Carlos Villalonga to show that the country appears intent to meet and even improve its climate commitment. In fact, Argentina was the first country to announce that it would increase its climate commitment from an unconditional 15% reduction in greenhouse gasses to 18%. Other significant gestures include the creation of a new National Cabinet for Climate Change and declaration of 2017 as the “Year of Renewable Energy.”

While Argentina is taking positive actions on one hand, some critics argue that the country is simultaneously making counterproductive moves. In a recent article, “Renewables Help Fight the Energy Crisis: Argentina’s New National Energy and Climate Policy,” the positive measures taken by the Marcri Administration are juxtaposed with negative environmental actions that are currently underway or planned for the near future. For example the government plans to ramp up gas and oil-fired thermoelectric power production which will solidify Argentina’s fossil fuel dependence. The Government is also rolling back export taxes on the agricultural sector which environmentalists fear will lead to an increase in already-high levels of deforestation. According to the author, Enrique Konstantinidis, the key weakness in Argentina’s approach to climate change is that there is no long-term strategy for decarbonization. He calls for a unified national plan that will cover multiple sectors and move the country toward sustainability.

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Article in La Voz about Argentina’s climate activity:
Article by Enrique Mautua Konstantinidis—Director for Climate Change at Fondacion Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN):

Argentina Emission Reduction Policies

Law 27191

Argentina’s energy production sector is heavily fossil fuel reliant and high emitting. However, the country is attempting to improve its energy matrix through Law 27191, in place since October 2015. The law mandates a rising quota of electricity from renewable sources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass plants. The quota starts at 8% and increases steadily until it reaches 20% by 2025. With the law firmly in place, Argentina seems to be off to a good start. However, the challenge now will be to fully implement it and adhere to the prescribed quota. Some evidence suggests that the country is committed to this effort.

In 2016, the government launched the Plan RenovAr program which focuses on developing new and an increased number of sources of clean energy. Through two rounds of tenders, the program awarded fifty-nine, large-scale renewable energy projects across the country. Once completed it is expected that these projects will produce an equivalent of 6% of the national demand for energy.

In January, through Decree 9/2017, President Macri officially declared 2017 the “Year of Renewable Energy.” This decree praised renewables for their potential contributions to 1.) Reducing greenhouse gas emissions 2.) Reducing reliance on energy from foreign countries 3.)Creation of local jobs. The decree states that the executive office will oversee numerous activities, seminars, conferences and educational programs to support development and use of renewable energy across the country.

If Argentina is going to meet its Paris Agreement commitments, improving its energy matrix to include more renewables will be a big step in the right direction. It also needs to monitor and report on the impact of its new renewable energy programs.

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English Translation of Law 27191-

Decree 9/2017 (Spanish)-!DetalleNorma/157240/20170104

Argentina Extreme Weather Event

Severe Flooding

Argentina is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. Because of its large surface area and unique geography, the country is prone to desertification, flooding, drought, volcanic eruptions, heavy snowfalls, landslides, earthquakes, and tornados. The direct impact of climate change has been observed across the country in recent years. Slow and gradual changes such as increased precipitation and temperatures have been observed in many parts of the country. In addition, Argentina has also suffered numerous extreme climate events that have resulted in disasters.


Flooding is becoming a regular occurrence in many parts of the country. A combination of climatic factors including heavy rainfall and swollen rivers has produced devastating floods in recent years. In 2015, the country experienced floods which officials described as “the worst in five decades.” In the Northeastern city of Concordia, as many as 20,000 people were forced to evacuate. Just a year later, hundreds were forced from their homes in the provinces of Santa Fe and Buenos Aires.

In addition to disrupting the lives of Argentina’s citizens, the flooding has also devastated agricultural areas threatening the country’s economy and food supply. For example, long term flooding in the northwest region of Buenos Aires province, forced the local government to declare an agricultural emergency.

Argentina Creates New National Observatory on Climate Change

In hopes of detecting and preventing extreme climate events, the Ministry of the Environment and
Ministry of Defense have recently signed an agreement to create a National Observatory on Climate Change. The Observatory will create maps and conduct studies on numerous climate risks including floods, droughts, forest fires, heat waves, temperature changes and other extreme climate events.

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For a description of the massive regional flooding in late 2015:

To learn more about the numerous effects of flooding in Argentina:

Argentina Media Organizations

Broadcast Media

Televisión Pública Argentina is a large, publicly owned TV station. The channel (specifically its program Ambiente y Medio) produces content specific to ecology and the environment that covers concerns within Argentina and around the world. The channel does not have a specific stance on the Paris Agreement, but much of its content is geared towards raising awareness on environmental problems and providing information about how to improve them.

Content Samples:

In a recent video Adrián Paenza interviewed Dr. Carolina Vera, one of the premier climate scientists in Argentina. The interview (in Spanish) can be accessed at:

The program Ambiente y Medio is presented by Sergio Federovisky and Camila Hadad.

Contact:  Av. Figueroa Alcorta 2977 (1425) Caba, Argentina; Tel: +54 (011) 4808-2500

Print Media

Clarín is the largest Argentine newspaper. It is published by Grupo Clarín under the direction of Ernestina Herrera de Noble. Clarín is a centrist publication and reports relatively neutrally on climate related issues.

Content Samples:

In December 2015 Clarín reported on the Paris Agreement in an article titled “Historic agreement in Paris to stop global warming.” The article can be found at:

The aforementioned article was written by Marina Aizen (, a journalist who has written numerous articles about issues of the environment, climate change and energy in Argentina.

Contact: Tacuarí 1840, C.A.B.A, ARGENTINA CP: C1140AAN
Website: managed by Damián Profeta ( y Fermín Koop (
Claves21 is a collaborative network for environmental journalists. Claves21 is a not-for-profit project run by environmentalists Damián Profeta y Fermín Koop. Clave21’s objective is to promote and encourage media attention and coverage environmental issues in Argentina. Climate change is a frequent topic and there are numerous materials on the site including articles, videos and webinars related to the issue.

Content Sample:

In July 2016, Nicolas de la Barra wrote an article called “Climate change is already being felt in Rio de la Plata.” The article highlights some of the effects that are already observable in the region including increased flooding. The article can be found at:

Argentina Subnational Best Practices


Jujuy Province—Renewable energy sources will play a crucial role in Argentina’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. Solar energy is one underdeveloped area that has huge potential. Jujuy province in the northern part of the country, on the border with Chile and Paraguay is set to expand its solar energy production significantly. Following a recent renewable energy auction by the government, the province will see three new 100MW solar energy projects. The geography of Argentina’s northern provinces is especially favorable for solar energy, and it seems that the country is serious about unlocking this untapped resource.

Fundación EcoAndina
Telephone: 54 (0388) 4922-275

Chubut Province—Another renewable energy source that may see significant growth in coming years is wind energy. As of now wind provides only a miniscule percentage of Argentina’s energy. However, the government is looking to wind to help improve its energy matrix and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Like Jujuy, Chubut also benefitted from a recent energy auction. Specifically, three new onshore wind projects will be built by different companies across the province.

Dr. Héctor Fernando Mattio, Director Centro Regional de Energía Eólica (CREE)
Telephone: (54) 280 4481572


Buenos Aires—In addition to being the national capital and the site where most climate decisions are made, the city of Buenos Aires is also taking numerous steps to combat climate change. For example, the city has signed the C40 Cities Clean Bus Declaration as well as the Compact of City Mayors—a global coalition of mayors and city officials committed to reducing local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change and track progress publicly. Furthermore, there are numerous projects and green initiatives underway in the city including improvements to transportation, waste management and energy.

For more about the different actions in Argentina visit:

Cámara Argentina de Energías Renovables
Telephone: 54 (11) 4515-0517

Greenpeace Argentina
Telephone: (5411) 4551-8811


Red Argentina de Municipios Frente al Cambio Climático (Argentinian Network of Cities Against Climate Change) is an instrument to coordinate and drive local public policies in the fight against climate change. The network has over 100 members.


Argentina Leaders and Opponents

Government Official
Rabbi Sergio Bergman
Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Sergio Bergman wears many hats. He is a rabbi, politician, pharmacist, scholar, writer and activist. In December 2015, he was appointed by President Mauricio Macri as Minister of the newly created Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. Bergman is in charge of numerous climate change related functions and initiatives in Argentina. He recently attended the United Nations 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakesh and said that Argentina is working to achieve zero deforestation, the recovery of degraded lands and changes in its energy matrix. Bergman also appears to be proactively pushing for improvements in Argentina’s implementation of the Paris Agreement. He recently stated that the country would raise its unconditional emissions reduction commitment from 15 to 18%.


Climate Program Advocate
Dr. Vicente Barros
Emeritus Professor at the University of Buenos Aires and Senior Researcher at the Argentine Council of Sciences (CONICET)

Dr. Vicente Barros is a climate pioneer and prolific researcher who has worked for decades on climate change and environmental issues in South America. He has published 66 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals. In 1996 he directed the First National Communication of Argentina to the UNFCCC and made significant contributions to the Second one in 2006. He was been a member of the IPCC Bureau from 2008 to 2015 and was part of the Executive Committee from 2010 to 2015. More recently he helped coordinate a group of experts that presented an influential ‘Climate Models’ study in the Casa Rosada (the executive office of the country) in April 2015.


Climate Program Advocate
Dr. Carolina Vera
Professor at University of Buenos Aires and Director of the Center for Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences (CIMA) and UMI/IFAECI

Dr. Carolina Vera has been a researcher with the National Council of Research and Development (CONICET) for the past twenty years. Her work is largely dedicated to understanding and predicting climate variability and change in South America. She has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles along with multiple book chapters and IPCC reports. In addition she has served on numerous committees and held various functions related to the IPCC. Dr. Vera was a co-coordinator (along with Dr. Barros) of the 3rd National Communication of Argentina to the UNFCCC and was part of the team that delivered the ‘Climate Models’ study to the Casa Rosada in 2015.


Learn More

For information about Sergio Bergman’s participation in COP 22:

For information (in Spanish) about the report delivered by Barros and Vera in the Casa Rosada:

Argentina Leading Research Study

Research Study: “Climate Models,” published by Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (CIMA-CONICET), Vicente Barros and Carolina Vera, 2015

In addition to being one of the top greenhouse gas emitters, Argentina is also one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Different studies have highlighted this point. For example the country’s geography and economy are at great risk. However, no study has approached the issue in such a large and comprehensive way as the ‘Climate Models’ which was created by the Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (CIMA-CONICET) as part of Argentina’s Third National Communication (TNC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Project. The study was presented in the Casa Rosada (the executive office of the country) in April 2015. It was a collaborative effort by a group of experts led by Vicente Barros and Carolina Vera.

The study had two primary objectives according to Vera 1.) Evaluate the present status and future of the climate in Argentina, 2.) Provide data about the impact of climate change on different social strata. The study was designed to serve as a management tool for all relevant stakeholders including the National Government, Provincial Governments, and Municipal Governments as well as private entities. To that end, a public access database was created and made available free of cost.

This study was extremely important for several reasons. First, it was a collaborative multi-stakeholder process that was funded by the World Bank, conducted by professors at the country’s largest university (University of Buenos Aires), and delivered as a presentation to government officials.  Second, it describes in clear and relevant terms some of the important changes that have occurred in recent years. For example, the average temperature in Argentina has increased .5 degrees in the last 50 years with a maximum of 1 degree change in Patagonia. To give a specific, tangible example of the consequences of these changes, the report points to this increase as one of the causes of a massive fire, the country’s largest, in Chubut in 2015 that burned 19,000 hectares of native forest.

The study also makes certain predictions based on current trends. Specifically, the country will experience an increase in average temperatures. The country will also see heat waves in the north and east of the country, reduction of freezing in most of the country and increased precipitation in the entire country. The report goes on to divide the country into four regions and delineates different histories and futures for each.

There is encouraging evidence that the Government of Argentina took heed of this study and incorporated it into its strategy. Most notably, the study is cited several times in the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution that was submitted in Paris. Now that the agreement has come into effect, it remains to be seen if Argentina can make good on its commitments.
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Argentina Energy Production Trends

How The Energy System Is Structured

The Argentinian energy sector is passing through a dynamic and crucial phase. Energy is one of the top priorities of President Mauricio Macri and a new long-term policy to revitalize the energy sector was promised during his campaign. Some important changes have already taken place.

Energy (including hydrocarbons and electricity) and mining were formerly managed by different secretariats, but in 2015 the President elevated them to the level of ministry by creating the Ministry of Energy and Mining (Ministerio de Energía y Minería). The Ministry is charged with setting standards, developing policy and regulations, and making crucial improvements in the sector. One of President Macri’s energy goals was to make the sector more market-friendly, and perhaps an indication of this is that former Shell Argentina Executive Juan José Aranguren was placed at the helm of the new Ministry. Since 1992, the generation and distribution activities have been open to the private sector. However, several nationalized companies are among the biggest in the country (i.e. YPF and Enarsa). Overall the market is relatively fragmented among more than ten large companies (private and nationalized).


Energy from non-renewable sources is produced and provided by large companies (including both private and state-owned) in a largely liberalized competitive market. The future of non-renewable energy in Argentina hinges on a region called Vaca Muerta (literally ‘dead cow’ in Spanish). The area, located in Neuquén Province, was first developed by YPF and holds vast (among the world’s largest) deposits of shale oil and shale gas. Top energy companies including YPF, Chevon, Petrobras, Total, ExxonMobil, etc. are now vying to access and profit from the relatively untapped resources of the region. Economists view Vaca Muerta as solution to fixing Argentina’s energy deficit, allowing it to satisfy growing demands and regain its position as an oil and gas exporter.


The market for renewable energy in Argentina is much newer and less developed than that for non- renewables, but there are some encouraging signs. In the past, the sector has struggled to attract investment. However, President Macri recently launched a decade-long plan to attract billions in investment and to boost the amount of electricity produced. The first step was an auction calling for companies to bid on contracts to produce 1,000 megawatts of power from renewable sources. According to President Macri, by increasing renewable energy output Argentina can save $300 million annually (reducing imports of natural gas and other fuels) and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 2 million tons a year.

Although they are not yet operating on the size and scale of non-renewables, renewable energy companies are seizing the moment and betting on Argentina’s ability to improve its energy matrix. One fascinating case study involving someone with experience on both sides of the energy game is Doris Capurro, a former communications vice president of YPF who now heads Luft Energia, a renewable energy company. In a recent interview she told the Buenos Aires Herald that she was frustrated with YPFs failure to invest in renewables. Furthermore she said the current administration has taken
many measures to make investors feel comfortable in Argentina. She hopes that Argentina can make significant improvements to its energy matrix in the coming years and wants her company to play an important role in this transition.

Sources of Energy

The country’s energy matrix indicates heavy reliance on fossil fuels while renewable energy (with the possible exception of large hydropower) sources remain marginal. The current situation is critical as energy is the highest greenhouse gas emitting sector in Argentina.

Profiles of Leading Energy Companies:

YPF: The largest energy company in Argentina is YPF (Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales), a vertically integrated billion dollar company engaged in producing and providing petroleum, natural gas and petrochemicals. YPF was founded in 1922 as a state enterprise, but in 1993 YPF was privatized and bought by Repsol SA (a Spanish energy firm). However, in 2012 the company was ‘re-nationalized’ when the Argentinian government purchased the majority shares from Repsol. Today the company has operation sites across the country (e.g. Cuyana, Nequina, Golfo San Jorge, and Austral) and produces over 200 million barrels of oil equivalent annually. It is also operational in the neighboring countries of Brazil and Chile.

Pampa Energia: The second biggest company Argentinian energy scenario is Pampa Energía, a Buenos Aires based company founded in 2005 providing electricity to millions of Argentinians. Pampa is one of the major companies that may be shifting its focus towards renewable energy. Earlier this year Pampa bid to invest around $400 million dollars in renewable energy (mostly wind and solar). According to CEO Marcelo Mindlin, renewable energy is a ‘hot sector’ and his company wants to be a key player.


Percentage of Energy Generation

Natural gas








Others (including wind and solar)


Source: Secretaría de Energía de la Nación, 2012

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Dustin Robertson

Argentina Emission Reduction Challenges

Leading Challenges to Emissions Reduction: (a) Rising consumer and industrial demand for energy; (b) Dependence on fossil fuels as an energy source


Current Level of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Argentina is one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gasses (GHG) in Latin America and accounts for around 1% of global emissions. Total emissions for the country were around 429 MtCO2e according to Argentina’s Third National Communication on Climate Change (2012). This latest figure represented a slight decline from previous years. The sector-wise distribution of GHG emissions is as follows:


Sector Distribution of GHG emissions
Energy 43%
Agriculture and animal husbandry 28%
Land use change and forestry 21%
Waste 5%
Industrial processes 3%


In its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), Argentina commits to an unconditional 15% reduction in greenhouse gases compared to business as usual projections and a conditional 30% reduction if it receives required support.


Emission Reduction Challenges: Energy

Energy, by far Argentina’s highest emitting sector, features prominently in discussions about reducing GHGs. Although the Government points out that high energy consumption results from the country’s large geographic area and efforts to raise living conditions for all citizens, it should also be noted that the country is still heavily fossil-fuel reliant. Sixty-four percent of Argentina’s power is generated by fossil fuels (most commonly natural gas followed by oil) and large hydroelectric accounts for 30%. Despite significant potential for wind and solar, only a small amount of Argentina’s energy currently comes from renewable sources.

During his campaign, President Mauricio Macri claimed energy would be a top priority. Observers are hopeful that he can address the country’s energy crisis, and so far there have been some encouraging actions. An ambitious target has been set to increase renewable energy production from around 2% to 20% by 2025. Reaching this target will require a large-scale shift in where Argentina gets its energy and how it is used. Some measures towards this target include:

  • Finalization of Law No. 27191 requiring large users of electricity to source at least 8% of their power from renewable sources.
  • Planned launch of the country’s largest solar project—a 3GW solar power park in Jujuy province.
  • First renewable energy auction calling on companies to bid on 1,000 MW of renewable energy.

However, improving Argentina’s energy matrix will not be easy. Positive actions to increase renewable energy are somewhat tempered by increases in conventional energy sources.


Emissions Reduction Challenges: Agriculture

Of course improvements in energy alone are not enough. Argentina needs significant action in other domains as well. For example, Argentina can make serious reductions in GHG emissions by acting strategically in the agricultural sector which accounts for nearly a third of all emissions. Agriculture in Argentina produces significant GHG emissions directly. For example, around 12% comes directly from cattle farming which produces large amounts of methane. At the same time agriculture has other consequences, perhaps most notably large-scale deforestation linked to agricultural expansion. Forest-pasture systems, crop rotation, increasing fertilizer efficiency and increasing the slaughter weight and weaning rate are practices that could help Argentina reduce emissions in an important way.

–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Dustin Robertson


Useful Resources

Argentina Ratification Status

Possibility of Ratification by 2018: High

Like most other major nations Argentina signed the Paris Agreement in April 2016, but has yet to ratify it.

As the Paris Agreement was being discussed and developed in late 2015, Argentina underwent significant changes in its political leadership. Just days before the Agreement was adopted, a new President, Mauricio Macri, was sworn into office. Thus, while Argentina’s delegation to the COP21 fell under the mandate of former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the onus will be on the current government to ratify and adhere to the Paris Agreement.

There are some encouraging signs that the Macri administration considers climate change a top priority. On the day that the Paris Agreement was adopted, the president called climate change ‘humanity’s biggest challenge’ and said the Agreement was an ‘important step towards the necessary changes’. To coordinate actions on climate change, the Government created a National Office on Climate Change (Gabinete Nacional de Cambio Climático).

In Argentina, international treaties must be approved by the National Congress, so in a recent speech, President Macri implored Congress to approve the commitments made in Paris as soon as possible. However in the past, action on climate change in Argentina has faced resistance because it was seen as detrimental (or at least secondary) to efforts towards economic stability, growth and social development. For example, prior to COP21 environment secretary Sergio Lorusso said ‘Argentina has the obligation and necessity to keep growing, we’re not going to sacrifice our people to satisfy international organizations’.

Nonetheless, the path to ratification looks promising. As mentioned, President Macri stated his desire to see ratification of the Paris Agreement as soon as possible. He also expressed this sentiment in a recent meeting with President Obama. Another promising perspective on the prospect of ratification comes from Argentina’s Environment Minister Sergio Bergman.

In a June, 2016 statement, he said: “The ratification of the Paris Agreement is now in the Parliament and is very likely to be approved. It doesn’t just depend on me, but we are pushing it and aren’t seeing any resistance.”


Probabilidad de Ratificación antes de 2018: Muy Probable

Como otros grandes países, Argentina firmó el Acuerdo de París en abril 2016, el cual aún no ha sido ratificado oficialmente.

Durante la XXI Conferencia sobre Cambio Climático (COP21), Argentina estaba experimentando importantes cambios. Días antes de la adopción del Acuerdo, un nuevo presidente, Mauricio Macri, asumió el cargo. Aunque la delegación a la COP21 nació con el Gobierno anterior de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, es el nuevo Ejecutivo quien tiene la responsabilidad de ratificar y acatar el Acuerdo de Paris.

Existe evidencia que la administración de Macri considera el cambio climático como una prioridad. Cuando el Acuerdo de París fue adoptado, el Presidente afirmó que ‘El cambio climático es el mayor desafío que enfrenta la humanidad y este acuerdo es un paso trascendente para lograr los cambios necesarios’. Más concretamente, el gobierno creó el Gabinete Nacional de Cambio Climático para dirigir las necesarias acciones.

En Argentina, los tratados internacionales deben ser aprobados por el Congreso Nacional. Fue entonces, en un discurso reciente, cuando el Presidente Macri imploró que el Congreso ratificara el Acuerdo de París lo antes posible. En el pasado, la acción sobre el cambio climático en Argentina se enfrentaba con la oposición por ser vista como nociva (o por lo menos secundaria) respecto a la estabilidad económica y el desarrollo. Por ejemplo, antes del COP21, el Secretario de Medio Ambiente, Sergio Lorusso, expresó que ‘Argentina tiene la obligación y la necesidad de seguir creciendo, no vamos a sacrificar a nuestra gente para quedar bien con organismos internacionales…’

Sin embargo, la ruta a la ratificación es prometedora. Como mencionaba, el Presidente ha exprimido sus ganas de ver ratificado el Acuerdo lo antes posible. Este deseo también fue articulado durante una reunión reciente con el Presidente estadounidense Obama.

Otra perspectiva positiva proviene de Sergio Bergman, Ministro de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable. En junio 2016, afirmó: ‘La ratificación del Acuerdo de París está en el Parlamento. Es muy probable que se apruebe, no depende de mí, pero estamos empujándolo y no vemos ninguna resistencia’.

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Dustin Robertson

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