CNeutral Costa Rica


Rainforest in Braulio Carlilo National Park, Costa Rica.


Costa Rica aims to be first carbon neutral nation

The Costa Rican government is developing plans to begin offsetting all of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions and become carbon neutral by 2030, according to Reuters.

The news service La Nación reported that Environment and Energy Minister Roberto Dobles plans for Costa Rica to reach its goal using budgeting, laws, and incentives, including measures to promote biofuels, hybrid vehicles, and clean energy. Additionally, a “CNeutral” label will be used to certify that tourism and certain industrial practices mitigate or offset their carbon dioxide emissions.

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Tourists and businesses may also be charged a voluntary “tax” to offset carbon emissions, with one tonne of carbon emissions priced at US$10, according to La Nación. The money will be used to fund conservation, reforestation and research in protected areas.

According to Reuters, Costa Rica has already implemented a programme of distributing the proceeds from a gasoline tax to landowners that grow trees to capture carbon. “The fact that Costa Rica has applied payments on a national scale is what’s innovative,” Reuters quoted Esteban Brenes of the WWF as saying.

News reports say that the country is planning to create a carbon certificate market that would boost carbon capture in the nation’s forests, and maintain the forests’ scenic beauty.

Delegates at a recent United Nations meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, noted that they were watching Costa Rica’s initiative and hope to replicate it in other regions.

Costa Rica is already a leader in green issues. It generates 78 percent of its energy with hydroelectric power and another 18 percent by wind or geothermal power. In 2003, the average Costa Rican generated 1.5 tonnes of carbon, compared to nearly ten tonnes by the average Norwegian. Norway has pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050, Reuters says.