Costa Rica is all set to become world’s first decarbonized country. The country’s newly elected president, Carlos Alvarado, recently announced a nationwide ban on fossil fuels. The president is picking up where his predecessor left off in the field of carbon neutrality.
“Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,” said Alvarado, a 38-year-old former journalist, novelist, and member of the center-left Citizens’ Action Party (PAC). “We have the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies.”
These words were part of his inaugural speech, in which he arrived at the ceremony at San Jose, riding an eco-friendly hydrogen-fueled bus. The people of Costa Rica recently elected Carlos Alvarado as their 48th President for the first time with 61% majority.
Costa Rica has a booming ecotourism industry. The country has already been putting a great deal of effort in banning plastics. 99% of the electricity produced in Costa Rica is through renewable sources – hydropower, solar, biomass and geothermal in comparison to other countries who produce more than half of the energy from coal and nuclear sources.
The small country with a population of 5 million has a big problem- transportation. More than 90% of the car owners have petrol and diesel-fueled cars. The car market is growing at 25%, a pace higher than that of China and the traffic is getting worse.
But Mr. President is thinking way ahead. During his campaign he said by 2021, they would end the use of fossil fuels in transport. “When we reach 200 years of independent life, we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate … that we’ve removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation,” he promised during a victory speech, according to a report in The Independent.
The decision to ban fossil fuels is a big one from a small country. With the lack of adept technologies in the field of clean energy on a big scale and undeveloped clean transport market, Costa Rica is about to face challenges.
On the other hand, the lack of oil and gas resources in the country would not hinder the clean energy goal. Nevertheless, the ban will surely result in development at a faster pace and will serve an example for the rest of the world in the future.
The story of Costa Rica would be worth taking notes for other nations. What future holds, only future can tell!
Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons