Culture 3 min read

Costa Rica to Become Carbon Neutral by 2050

This major push by Costa Rica shows exactly how possible it is for governments to implement strong carbon neutral strategies. ¦ distel2610 / Pixabay

This major push by Costa Rica shows exactly how possible it is for governments to implement strong carbon neutral strategies. ¦ distel2610 / Pixabay

While everybody seems onboard regarding climate debate, when it comes to concrete climate action, positions widely differ.

Few countries in the world are as bold in their climate action as Costa Rica, and the quasi-absence of electric vehicles on its roads give it room to progress even more.

Over the last four years, Costa Rica has been generating more than 98 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Costa Rica’s geography allows for the development of hydropower and geothermal power capacities, complemented by solar, wind, and biomass.

But natural resources alone wouldn’t make much difference without political commitment and forward thinking.

Costa Rica’s Roadmap to Net Zero Emissions

The small Central American nation, home to 4.9 million inhabitants, is on track to become one of the first decarbonized countries, if not the first ever.

The plan aims to gradually phase out fossil fuels and cut emissions, while at the same time give the Costa Rican economy a chance to keep growing. Achieving net zero GHG emissions means for Costa Rica a climate-resilient, sustainable, and inclusive economy.

Last February, Costa Rica’s 38-year-old president Carlos Alvarado Quesada announced the launch of the world’s first massive decarbonization plan.

Costa Rica’s national decarbonization plan sets 2050 as a target date for the country to become completely carbon-free, with near-term milestones to be achieved along the way.

The plan sets the timetable, identifies key focus sectors, and strategies.

“Costa Rica has set out to lay the foundations of the new Costa Rican economy of the 21st century by creating a positive, innovative and inspiring vision of the future. An economy that responds to changes in the global context, moving towards a green economy, which promotes the sustainable use of natural resources”.

3 Phases:

Beginning: 2018-2022.

Inflection: 2023-2030.

Massive deployment: 2031-2050.

4 Sectors:

The plan sets the roadmap to follow for four sectors, and ten focus areas, so that each sector contributes its due quota in time. These four sectors are:

  1. Transport and Sustainable Mobility
  2. Energy, Green Building and Industry
  3. Integrated Waste Management
  4. Agriculture, land use change and nature-based solutions

8 Cross-cutting Strategies:

To ensure the transition doesn’t go off track, the Costa Rican government is aware that “it is necessary to modernize the institutional and tax frameworks as well as the education system through comprehensive approaches in order to consolidate the process of transformational change”. The current government plans on doing this through eight core reforms:

1) Strengthening the principles of inclusion, respect for human rights and promotion of gender equality.

2) Comprehensive reform for new institutionality

3) Green tax reform

4) Finance and foreign direct investment strategy

5) Digitalization and knowledge-based economy strategy

6) Labor strategies for a just transition

7) Transparency, metrics and open data strategy

8) Education and culture strategy

For countries wanting to meet their 2015 Paris Agreement pledges and keep the world from warming over 2C (3.6F), and achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions, Costa Rica is leading by example.

Read More: World First: Electric Vehicles Outsell Petrol Cars in Norway

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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    Mark Washburn April 10 at 4:29 pm GMT

    Before Costa Rica begins to talk about Carbon Neutral, they should certainly take a look at cleaning up their rivers. Currently, both black and grey waters are dumped directly into the rivers flowing through San Jose. Costa Rica currently has to sad “distink” honor of owning the dirtiest river(s) in all Central America. Although there are plans to rectify this issue, very little movement has taken place in the past 15 years due to “other priorities”. Until the rivers and trash issues are truly recognized and resolved, focusing on carbon-neutral seems to be a bit premature.

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