Costa Rica launched “National Decarbonization Plan 2018-2050”, a plan to make the country one of the first in the world to completely “decarbonize” by 2050.
At an event in San José on Sunday, February 24, President Carlos Alvarado and former UN climate Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres launched the plan with minister of environment and energy Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, who said that if the plan is achieved, his grandchildren in 2035 will have the same carbon footprint as his grandparents did in the 1940s – and by 2050 his grandchildren will have none at all.
“Not only are we going to reduce that footprint but we are going to bring many benefits with it,” Rodríguez said.
‘The National Decarbonization Plan 2018-2050’ focuses on ten areas, encompassing key themes of transport and sustainable mobility, energy, green buildings, industry and agriculture among others.
Under the roadmap, Costa Rica by 2050 would achieve “zero net emissions”, meaning it would produce no more emissions than it can offset through things such as maintaining and expanding its extensive forests.
The ambitious plan includes commitments to ensure the electric grid is capable of operating with 100% renewable energy by 2030, make 70% of buses and taxis zero-emission by 2030 – and 100% by 2050 – and to ensure that 60% of Costa Rica’s land cover is made up of rainforest.
Figueres called the goal “unprecedented” in international politics. Only the government of the tiny Marshall Islands also has laid out a detailed plan to achieve that goal, but “they still do not have the whole plan articulated sector by sector”, Figueres told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
President Alvarado noted that while Costa Rica represents only a tiny share of the world’s climate-changing emissions, the plan could be a model for other nations.
“We can be that example – we have to inspire people,” he said at the plan’s launch,
But Jairo Quirós, an electrical energy researcher at the University of Costa Rica, warned the plan would be challenging, and “should be viewed with some caution”.
Costa Rica set a new world record in 2017 when it ran on 100% renewable energy for 300 days in a row.
Costa Rica was one of the first national governments to endorse the Under2 Coalition, a group of over 220 ambitious governments committed to acting on climate change, led by The Climate Group.