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Tue Mar 12, 2019, 05:36 PM

Tiny Costa Rica Has a Green New Deal, Too. It Matters for the Whole Planet.

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SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica — It’s a green big deal for a tiny sliver of a country. Costa Rica, population 5 million, wants to wean itself from fossil fuels by 2050, and the chief evangelist of the idea is a 38-year-old urban planner named Claudia Dobles who also happens to be the first lady. Every country will have to aspire to something similar, scientists say, if the world is to avert the most dire consequences of global warming. And while Costa Rica’s carbon footprint is tiny compared to other countries, Ms. Dobles has a higher goal in mind: Getting rid of fossil fuels would show the world that a small country can be a leader on an awesome problem and improve the health and well-being of its citizens in the bargain. It would, she said, combat a “sense of negativity and chaos” in the face of global warming. “We need to start providing answers.”

Costa Rica’s green bid, though fraught with challenges, has a head start. Electricity comes largely from renewable sources already — chiefly hydropower, but also wind, solar and geothermal energy. The country has doubled its forest cover in the last 30 years, after decades of deforestation, so that half of its land surface is now covered with trees. That’s a huge carbon sink and a huge draw for tourists. Also, climate change is not a divisive political issue. Now, if its decarbonization strategy succeeds, it could provide a road map to others, especially developing countries, showing how democratically elected leaders can grow their economies without relying on polluting sources of energy. But if it doesn’t work, in a country so small and politically stable, it would have equally profound consequences. “If we can’t pull it off by 2050, it’s likely no other country can pull it off,” said Francisco Alpízar, an economist at the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center in Turrialba, Costa Rica and a climate adviser to the government. “That would be really bad.”


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Claudia Dobles said her first priority was to overhaul transportation, which accounts for most of Costa Rica’s greenhouse gas emissions.


For Ms. Dobles, the top priority is fixing transportation. It is the largest single source of Costa Rica’s greenhouse gas emissions. The number of cars and motorcycles on the roads is growing fast, according to a survey by a nongovernmental group called State of the Nation. The average car in the country is 17 years old. Congestion is a huge problem; morning traffic in the San José metropolitan area moves at an average of less than 10 miles per hour. Afternoons are worse.

The National Decarbonization Plan, as it’s called, envisions electric passenger and freight trains in service by 2022, which is when Ms. Dobles’s husband, President Carlos Alvarado, finishes his term. Under the plan, nearly a third of all buses would be electric by 2035, dozens of charging stations would be built, and nearly all cars and buses on the roads would be electric by 2050. Unlike many other countries, Costa Rica does not rely on coal to produce its electricity.
Revamping transportation is expensive and so it will require tackling things that have little direct connection to climate change — fixing the country’s fiscal health, for one, to be able to secure big foreign loans to fund such an ambitious project, and lowering unemployment, which is a pressing political demand. It also means addressing the aspirations of its upwardly mobile people.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/12/climate/costa-rica-climate-change.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage

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Reply Tiny Costa Rica Has a Green New Deal, Too. It Matters for the Whole Planet. (Original post)
niyad Tuesday OP
panader0 Tuesday #1
niyad Wednesday #2
Guy Whitey Corngood Wednesday #3

Response to niyad (Original post)

Tue Mar 12, 2019, 07:20 PM

1. When I visited Costa Rica, the common greeting and parting

was "pura vida"---pure life. A beautiful country..

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Response to panader0 (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 03:50 PM

2. that is lovely

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Response to niyad (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2019, 04:18 PM

3. Was there for the first time in August. Loved it. They seem to take

the environment and education seriously.

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