Costa Rica is showing the world what a committed climate policy actually looks like. The country wants to be the first to go completely single-use plastic– and carbon-free, hoping to reach that goal as early as 2021. And so far, it’s doing pretty well. It’s already started by banning all single-use plastics in 2017 and has launched a national campaign to replace these plastics for biodegradable or water-soluble alternatives, or products made of renewable materials.
Strides toward carbon neutrality were taken last May when Carlos Alvarado, the country’s president, pledged to phase out fossil fuels. Costa Rica already gets almost all of its electricity from renewable sources (80 percent comes from hydroelectric power), and to decarbonize faster, the country incentivizes cleaner vehicles, lifting taxes on electric cars.
In his May inauguration speech, president Alvarado emphasized Costa Rica’s dedication to sustainability, saying, “Decarbonization 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. 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.”
Costa Rica wouldn’t be the very first country to accomplish this; Bhutan is actually carbon-negative, according to National Geographic.
Costa Rica might still have a ways to go before accomplishing its ambitious goal, but it’s certainly off to a great start.
H/T: Culture Trip