Costa Rica marches towards decarbonising its economy

Costa Rica’s new Decarbonisation Plan defines activities in key sectors which will be implemented in three steps until 2050 in order to achieve a modern, emission-free, resilient and inclusive economy.

To reach this goal, Costa Rica will make changes and modifications to mobility and transport (public as well as private), optimize energy management, promote sustainable construction and industry, and improve recycling and waste disposal.

The Decarbonisation Plan offers a road map to promote the modernisation of Costa Rica’s economy, generating jobs and boosting its growth based on the generation of 3D services and goods: decarbonised, digitized and decentralised in electric production. In addition, the Plan is the basis for the construction of the National Plan for Development and Public Investments (2018-2022) and the long-term Plan Estratégico Costa Rica 2050.

The planned measures, activities and improvements also form part of the country’s extended Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that Costa Rica will present in 2020 to the UNFCCC to demonstrate and strengthen its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and participate in the global effort to avoid temperature rising above 2 degrees Celsius with respect to the pre-industrial era.

Electrifying public and private transport

Costa Rica’s transport sector accounts for 44% of the country’s net emissions and is one of the main hurdles for reaching full decarbonisation. The country has set itself the task to connect public, private and freight transport to its clean energy matrix (98-99% renewable) and promotes electrifying the entire sector: By 2050, 60% of private and institutional vehicles on the roads are to be electric vehicles. Additionally, 100% of all new vehicles sold in Costa Rica are to be completely emission-free.

These objectives are further strengthened through a sectoral agreement between Costa Rica’s ministries for Environment, and for Transport and Public Works, signed during the launch of the Decarbonisation Plan in February 2019. The agreement stipulates the implementation of mitigation measures, policies and instruments that will help reduce 0,5 megatons of CO2eq and improve the transport system and quality of life of Costa Rica’s citizens until 2024. Until 2050, a total reduction of 4,01 megatons CO2eq is expected.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) assisted in both the development of the Decarbonisation Plan as well as the sectoral agreement on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), offering technical assistance and supporting processes of public consultancy.