Costa Rica is second of the Central American nations that produce the most carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita in the region.
The country is only surpassed by Panama, according to an analysis of the Central America Statistics 2017 interactive platform developed by the Proyecto Estado de la Región (State of the Region Project).
Costa Rica reported an emission of 1.6 tons of CO2 per citizen, a figure that exceeds the regional average of 1.3.
In the case of Panama, it registers a carbon dioxide emission of 2.3 tons for each of its 4 million inhabitants. In 2000 the figure recorded was 1.9.
Around the region, Nicaragua registered the lowest CO2 emissions with 0.8 tons of CO2 per citizen, followed by El Salvador with 1.0, Honduras 1.1, Guatemala 1.2 and Belize 1.4. While Belize dropped from 1.7, Guatemala and Honduras had increases, registering a 0.9 and 0.8, respectively, in 2000.
Costa Rica seeks to achieve carbon neutrality by 2021; However, the Directorate of Climate Change has identified one of the great challenges facing the country: improving transportation.
The average in Latin America and the Caribbean is 3.1; while in the world and the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development the emission figures average 5 and 9.5 tons per inhabitant.
The statistical platform includes information on the main trends of sustainable human development during the period 2000-2016, for each of the seven countries of Central America.
In the case of carbon dioxide emissions, it is only one of the 180 indicators it analyzes on issues not only environmental, but also social, economic and political.
Carbon dioxide is seen as one of the main causes of global warming, since excess emissions cause an increase in the greenhouse effect – warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.
What causes the most CO2 emissions?
There are both natural and human sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Natural sources include decomposition, ocean release and respiration. Human sources come from activities like cement production, deforestation as well as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.