Costa Rica will abandon fossil fuel

Costa Rica will abandon fossil fuel

The newly elected President of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado, declared during his investiture that Costa Rica will abandon fossil fuel by 2021 which is the bicentennial anniversary of the country.

Lowering the carbon emission is the greatest challenge of our generation, and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to end fossil fuels, if not the first. We have a titanic and wonderful task to put an end to the use of fossil fuels in our economy to come to clean and renewable energy.”

Costa Rica, with its firm conservation laws and flourishing ecotourism plans to achieve such goal in a short term. The country is known for producing almost 99% of its electricity using renewable energy sources, mainly hydroelectric power stations, but also solar, wind, geothermal and biomass sources. In 2017, Costa Rica broke its own record, using only clean energy for 300 consecutive days. For comparison, 66% of electricity in the US is produced from coal and natural gas, and only 15% fall on renewable energy sources. The remaining 19% is nuclear energy.

Nevertheless, the victory over combustible minerals in just three years is a task that will require tremendous effort if the transport sector is taken into account.

Cars on gasoline and diesel dominate the roads, and their numbers are only growing. In 2016, there were twice as many cars registered as new-borns. In the previous year, the automotive industry of Costa Rica grew by 25%, this is one of the fastest growing car markets in Latin America.

Due to the weak public transport network and the growing number of cars on the roads, two-thirds of the annual CO2 emissions  in Costa Rica are in transport. And yet Alvarado, who arrived at his own inauguration ceremony on the hydrogen fuel bus, promised to continue the trend towards the spread of electric vehicles, promoted by the former president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis. In 2016, hybrid and electric cars accounted for less than 1% of the total number of vehicles in the country.

While many experts applaud the ambitious goals of Costa Rica, they indicate that the transport sector without fossil fuels by 2021 is a risky exercise. The goal can – and should be – achieved, but probably not the bicentennial of the country’s independence.

About Author

Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.