Around the world, more people are becoming concerned about climate change and the effect it has on the environment. Costa Rica may be known for its pristine beaches and lush jungles, but it also happens to be one of the most sustainable countries in the world. The largest provider of electricity in the country operates almost completely on hydropower and is able to operate for months without the need to burn any fossil fuels. Even though Costa Rica makes hardly any contributions to global climate change, this small country in Central America is one of the most hardworking countries in the world when it comes to attempting to limit greenhouse gases.
The country has actually set a goal of becoming carbon-neutral, and is even considering a vehicle carbon tax as part of a plan to eliminate high-polluting vehicles. While many other countries in the world, including Australia, continue to churn out CO2 at aggressive levels, Costa Rica embarked on a commitment to conservation decades ago. Today, the Costa Rican government has embraced a number of environmental causes.
Home to a population of approximately 5 million people, many of whom are poor, Costa Rica depends heavily on agriculture, primarily for exports of sugar, coffee, and bananas. But another industry is rapidly burgeoning in the country: eco-tourism. Visitors from around the world are flocking to Costa Rica to take advantage of the opportunity to see the rainforests. However, erratic rainfall levels and rising temperatures are now threatening everything from agricultural crops to the tourism industry.
A History of Demonstrating Commitment to Change
In the mid-2000s, the small country decided to take action and began to take aggressive steps toward battling climate change. Over the years, Costa Rica has demonstrated the ability and willingness to take a number of bold moves in an effort to do whatever is deemed best for the country. Whether it was abolishing the military in the 1940s to building an unrivaled network of wildlands and parks, Costa Rica is more than able to tap civic pride to accomplish goals.
In 2007, the country announced plans to reduce net carbon output to zero. Fortunate to have abundant amounts of clean energy, Costa Rica now reports that more than half of its electricity is generated by hydropower. The country is also able to rely on geothermal energy as well as wind and solar energy.
Even so, while Costa Rica had hoped to reach a carbon-neutral goal by 2021, it now looks as though that will not be possible, due largely to lower-than-expected levels of carbon being stored in the forests, and a rising number of vehicles. Despite the disappointing news, Costa Rica is making the most of its resources, and already developing plans to create a massive commuter train, as well as considering implementing a carbon tax for older vehicles. As the country is quick to point out, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and needs to be protected.