Decarbonisation nation

Costa Rica unveils decarbonisation plan, targeting carbon neutral by 2050.

Costa Rica has presented its decarbonisation plan that aims to reduce its carbon emissions, deforestation and industrial impact to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The country plans to add new sources of renewable energy to final consumers which will prioritise growth in electrification facilities in the country. To achieve this goal, the Ministry of the Environment of Costa Rica has designed a National Decarbonisation Plan (“NDP”) which offers a framework of 70 cross-ministerial measures that will be carried out by 35 government agencies by 2023.

A former energy advisor to the government commented, “The plan is ambitious but it is feasible, in principle. I look forward to reviewing more detailed proposals, especially those around implementation.”

“The plan is ambitious but it is feasible, in principle. I look forward to reviewing more detailed proposals, especially those around implementation.”

Former energy advisor, Costa Rica

Costa Rica argues that, in a global economy severely hit by the economic consequences of the pandemic, adopting an ambitious decarbonisation plan will create jobs and wealth. A recent study by the International Labour Organisation and the Inter-American Development Bank (“IDB”) estimated that sustainability plans could generate 15 million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2030. Furthermore, the government of Costa Rica estimates that its NDP will generate profits in the region of USD 41 billion by 2050, particularly in transportation and the use of land sectors. 

The government designed a horizontal governance plan, originally launched by the government in 2019, and developed by the Ministry of Environment in coordination with the country’s main business actors to guarantee a smooth implementation of the NDP. Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment developed NDP in cooperation with IDB which carried its own round of consultations with private entities in Costa Rica. 

An energy consultant in Costa Rica commented, “The study ran 3,000 scenarios and 2,978 suggested that the 2050 greenhouse gas emissions targets could be met with a net positive economic benefit over the period. This doesn’t mean it will be easy but it suggests that it is possible.”

“The study ran 3,000 scenarios and 2,978 of them suggested that the 2050 greenhouse gas emissions targets could be met with a net positive economic benefit.”

Energy consultant, Costa Rica

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that Latin America would save USD 621 billion if its energy and transportation sectors became carbon neutral in 2050.

There are still some structural challenges to emissions reductions, especially when the strategy relies upon electrification. As an energy trader specialising in Latin America described, “Many countries in the region first need to address structural problems like network reliability issues, a modernisation of energy infrastructure technology, poor urban planning and connectivity, among others.” 

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