Costa Rica bets on ending fossil fuel use by 2050

21 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

SAN JOSÉ: Eric Orlich and his wife Gioconda Rojas own two electric vehicles, which they charge at home in the garage thanks to solar panels on their roof, reports AFP.

That could soon become the norm in Costa Rica, where the government launched a decarbonization plan in February to rid the country of fossil fuels by 2050.

“It’s totally realistic and necessary,” said Orlich, a father of two who lives in a mountainous zone east of the capital San Jose.

A businessman in the solar panel sector and president of the Association of Electric Mobility—which promotes electric-powered transport—what excites him the most about the government’s plan is the focus on public transport.

The aim is to have 70 percent of public transport powered by electricity in 2035 — and the whole fleet by 2050.

That is an achievable goal according to diplomat Cristiana Figueres, who in 2015 participated in talks to secure the Paris climate accord on limiting global warming.

“The government prudently set the 2050 date because that’s what the Paris Agreement demands but I’m confident we’ll manage it before then,” Figueres told AFP.

“Once we’ve implemented the process of electrifying transport and relaunched a more efficient agriculture and livestock sector, we shall see an exponential effect on technological change” that will accelerate decarbonization, she added.

Leftist President Carlos Alvarado’s plan is set to extend beyond public transport to incorporate industry, agriculture and livestock, as well as a reforestation program aimed at increasing woodland from 50 to 60 percent of the country.