Costa Rica Releases National Plan to Decarbonize by 2050
Photo by: Lauren Anderson
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The LTS is structured along 10 decarbonization axes derived from the country’s greenhouse gas emissions patterns, and correspond with the major emission sources.

For each axis, the Plan suggests: a vision of transformation; short-, medium- and long-term measures or activities; and policy packages that combine planning, institutional or regulatory measures, implementation, access to financing, citizen support and avoiding lock-in.

Under the Paris Agreement, all Parties are expected to “strive” to formulate and communicate mid-century long-term low emission development strategies to the UNFCCC Secretariat by 2020.

The Government of Costa Rica has become the 14th country to submit its long-term strategy for low-emission development (LTS) to the UNFCCC Secretariat. The LTS conveys Costa Rica’s aspiration to be a modern, green and emissions-free economy, and commits the country to net-zero emissions by 2050.Costa Rica’s ‘National Decarbonization Plan 2018-2050’ lays out the process for achieving these objectives, and explains that while the country has natural capital, education and openness, its transition to net-zero emissions could be slowed by shortcomings in infrastructure, including in the transport sector, and fiscal constraints.

Involving every sector of the economy, the LTS is structured along ten decarbonization axes derived from the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions patterns, and correspond with the major emission sources. These axes relate to:

  • developing a mobility system based on safe, efficient and renewable public transport, and on active mobility schemes;
  • transforming light-duty vehicles to zero emissions;
  • promoting cargo transport that adopts modalities, technologies and sources of zero or lowest possible emissions;
  • consolidating the national electric system with capacity, flexibility, intelligence and resilience to supply and manage cost-competitive renewable energy;
  • developing buildings for different uses under high-efficiency standards and low emission processes;
  • transforming the industrial sector through processes and technologies that use energy from renewable sources or low or zero-emissions methods;
  • developing an integrated waste management system based on the separation, reuse, revaluation and disposal with maximum efficiency and low emissions;
  • promoting efficient agro-food systems that generate low carbon, local consumption and export goods;
  • consolidating a livestock model based on productive efficiency and emission reductions; and
  • consolidating a land management model that facilitates biodiversity protection, forest cover increases and maintenance, and ecosystem services based on nature-based solutions. 

For each axis, the Plan suggests: a vision of transformation; short-, medium- and long-term measures or activities; and policy packages that combine planning, institutional or regulatory measures, implementation, access to financing, citizen support and avoiding lock-in.

The Plan identifies eight cross-cutting strategies, including: comprehensive reform for the new institutionality of the bicentennial, which Costa Rica is celebrating in 2021; green tax reform; funding strategy and investment attraction; digitalization and knowledge-based economic strategy; just transition labor strategies; inclusion, human rights and gender equality; metric and open data systems to evaluate progress; and education and culture strategy.

The Plan identifies five priorities for action, to be implemented immediately: triggering the transformation of public transport; accelerating and scaling up transformation actions of the agricultural sector’s higher emitting activities; laying the foundations of the electrification of the economy in the transport and industrial sectors; avoiding technological pathways in energy and transport that do not eliminate emissions; and starting the process of two cross-cutting reforms, a structural reform that will lay the foundations for a new sustainable consumption and production system, and a green tax reform that reduces the negative externalities that deteriorate natural capital.

Under the Paris Agreement on climate change, all Parties are expected to “strive” to formulate and communicate mid-century long-term low emission development strategies (LEDS) to the UNFCCC Secretariat by 2020. [Costa Rica’s National Decarbonization Plan 2018-2050] [UNFCCC LTS website

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