Costa Rica’s Roadmap for Becoming One of the First Countries to Achieve Decarbonization
limate change is evident and one of the greatest challenges we face in humanity. It affects everyone: our people, planet, democratic stability and peace. To combat climate change, Costa Rica launched its National Decarbonization Plan in February, which is one of the first decarbonization strategies in the world in the short and long term. By 2050, Costa Rica will be among the first countries to achieve decarbonization, if not the first. Decarbonization is not a new concept to this Central American country. Creating a low-carbon economy requires a major transformation – and has been an important initiative of Costa Rica’s government for decades, with progress including an electrical grid over 95 percent emission-free and minimal deforestation rates with 55 percent of the country protected. Costa Rica’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint is deeply rooted in its economy and culture. From an early age, children are taught to protect and love the country’s natural wealth and wildlife. In 2017, the newly appointed president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, announced his plans to make Costa Rica the first carbon-neutral nation in the world by 2021, the 200th anniversary of its independence. Building on his earlier initiatives, the new National Decarbonization Plan sets up the roadmap between the current goals and the 2050 goals by outlining 10 major focus
46 SECOND QUARTER 2019 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
areas and phasing out policies, which will be enacted to decarbonize Costa Rica by 2050. DEFINING COSTA RICA’S NATIONAL DECARBONIZATION PLAN The National Decarbonization Plan applies to every sector of the country and society: public institutions, local governments, private companies, citizen organizations and universities. The 10 focus areas or plan stages address changes in key areas, in order to reverse greenhouse gas emission trends and to foster an economy under a vision of green growth. The 10 stages are dissected into three phasing out periods: Starting Point (20182022), Turning Point (2023-2030) and Mass Deployment (2031-2050), as well as eight cross-sectional strategies that address considerations across the institutional framework, tax framework and education system. •
Development of a mobility system based on safe, efficient and renewable public transportation, along with active and shared mobility schemes. In 2050, the public transportation system (buses, taxis and trains), will operate in an integrated manner and replace private vehicles as the first choice of mobility. By 2035, 70 percent of buses and taxis will be zero-emission and trains will be 100 percent electric. In 2050, 100 percent of buses and taxis will be zero-emission.
Transformation of the light vehicle fleet to zero-emission, powered by renewable energ y of non-fossil origin. The country will have an extensive charging network and supplementary infrastructure for zero-emission technologies, such as hydrogen stations.
Promotion of freight transportation that adopts modalities, technologies and sources of zero-emission energ y or with the lowest possible emissions. By 2050, at least half of freight transportation will be highly efficient. By 2018, 20 percent will have reduced emissions.
Consolidation of the national electrical grid with the capacity, flexibility, intelligence and resilience required to supply and manage renewable energ y at a competitive cost. By