Costa Rica plans to ban fossil fuels in bid to become world’s first decarbonised country

Costa Rica’s new president, Carlos Alvarado, made the announcement to crowds during his inauguration on Wednesday

The new president of Costa Rica has announced a plan to ban fossil fuels and become the first fully decarbonised country in the world. Carlos Alvarado, a former journalist, told a crowd of thousands during his inauguration speech on Wednesday this week: “Decarbonisation 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.”

He added: “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.”


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Alvarado explained that the country will begin to implement a plan to end fossil fuel use in transport by 2021, the 200th year of Costa Rican independence. The president had arrived at the ceremony in San Jose on board a hydrogen-fuelled bus.

“When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate … that we’ve removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation,” he is reported to have said.

The news has been welcomed by environmentalists around the world, who say it sends a powerful message to other nations. Erik Solheim, head of UN environment, tweeted about the announcement, adding: “A zero-carbon future is possible!”

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

Others have been more cautious, saying the move needs to happen slowly to allow the country’s burgeoning clean transport market to develop. The move towards clean energy is not likely to face a significant backlash because the country has no significant oil or gas industry. However, car ownership is on the rise in Costa Rica. The Independent reported that, according to data by the National Registry – the country’s records agency – there were twice as many cars registered as babies born in 2016.

Featured image: Alvaro Hernandez


 

 

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