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Costa Rica goes Carbon Neutral

By September 23, 2015 No Comments

Costa Rica today promised to be Net Carbon Neutral somewhere between 2050 and 2100, while aiming to protect its highly vulnerable population. 

Costa Rica's environmental and energy minister, Edgar Gutiérrez-Espeleta, lead the presentation.

Costa Rica’s environmental and energy minister, Edgar Gutiérrez-Espeleta, led the presentation.

Adopt a Negotiator has gained exclusive access to Costa Rica’s upcoming Climate Action plan, with what looks likely to be the most progressive plan the world has seen this year.

In what will surely enchant Climate geeks around the world, the Central American nation has put together the first conclusive, per capita emissions reduction plan ahead of the UN climate negotiations in December.

The plan will aim to progressively decrease its current emissions (among the lowest in the world) towards Negative emissions by 2100, with per person carbon targets for 2030, 2050 and 2100.

By 2030, the plan is to get emissions down to 1.73 tonnes of CO2 per person. Then by 2050, that’s going to drop to 1.19 CO2 tonnes. Finally, its aiming to hit -0.27 tonnes of CO2 per person by 2100.

With this, the Central American nation of 4.7 million people may have just given the world a model it can follow to really reduce our emissions to a level that is both ‘safe’ and ‘equitable’.

Also set to be included in the Climate Action plan will be key references to human rights and gender equality.

However, what is sorely lacking from the current plan, is a quantifiable strategy to decrease emissions from the nation’s last remaining polluting sector: transportation.

Nevertheless, with over 50 INDCs that have now been submitted ahead of the UN climate negotiations, Costa Rica’s plan raises the bar for other nations’ whose general lack of ambition have worried many observers throughout the year.

The INDC focuses on what Costa Rican authorities call a strong climate action, with two main pillars: strengthening resilience and focusing its economy on low-carbon development.

Costa Rica’s adaptation commitment includes developing a National Adaptation Plan by 2018 with 10 keys sectors (biodiversity, agriculture and livestock, water usage, coastal areas, fisheries, health, infraestructure, energy, tourism and cities) and a National Policies on Disaster Prevention.

The INDC explicitly states its adaptation policies will focus local solutions and ecosystem, with biological corridors and its local version of REDD+.

The country innovated by focusing on a per-capita economy-wide climate goal, when most countries are opting for a percentage reduction from a Business-as-Usual Scenario (BAU) or a given base-year emissions.

The economy-wide goal sets a national emission limit for 2030, in this case 9,374,000 TCO2 and expect to have its economy decarbonized by 2050. Costa Rica does takes 2012 as base year for its per-capita accounting, when the average Costa Rican released 2,29 tons of CO2 equivalent.

The INDC offered actions on energy, transportation, agriculture, forestry, and solid waste management, the country’s main GHG drivers. With 97 percent of the country’s electricity supply expected to come from clean sources in 2015, Costa Rica’s goal is being 100 percent renewables by 2030. No specific data on transportation was provided, but the document stated the importance of increasing the electrification of its system, a carbon tax for land transportation, and incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Local authorities said they intend to submit the INDC this very Wednesday, after a final workshop in the country.

Diego Arguedas Ortiz

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