Costa Rica: The world’s first carbon neutral country in just 7 years?

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL September 14, 2014

climate_change_encyclopaediaTiny Costa Rica wants to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2021.

It thinks anything else would be catastrophic. For itself. With floods and drought increasingly common, its economy has suffered enormously.

That’s not just because of damaged roads and other infrastructure but falling agricultural productivity – bananas, coffee etc. Like El Salvador and Honduras, climate change is hitting Costa Rica where it can see – and feel – it acutely.

But according to some reports, Costa Rica is better placed than almost any other country to fight climate change. Click here to read a fascinating piece in OZY.

But if you don’t, suffice it to say, it is blessed in its remarkable history of environmental action.

Its forest conservation programme, says OZY, includes biodiversity and offers incentives like subsidized loans to landowners. It also has a five per cent tax on gasoline to pay for environmental services.

This is why its seen forest cover levels rising – in 1983, it was 21 per cent; today it’s more than double. Haiti might want to take note.

It also has a green electricity grid, made up of hydraulic and geothermal sources and it’s trying to diversify further by attracting foreign investment for solar power and wind farms.

It’s also created a domestic carbon offset market, offers cheap credits for electric cars, is training farmers to use less synthetic fertilizer and launched public education campaigns.

They’re so serious, most pundits would say Costa Rica has a jolly good chance of making it as a carbon neutral economy – but possibly not by 2021.