Costa Rica launches 'unprecedented' push for zero emissions by 2050

(Reuters, 25 Feb 2019) Costa Rica's president has launched an economy-wide plan to decarbonize the country by 2050, saying the Central American nation aims to show other nations what is possible to address climate change.

Costa Rica's environment minister, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, said that if the plan is achieved, his grandchildren in 2035 will have the same carbon footprint as his grandparents did in the 1940s – and by 2050 his grandchildren will have none at all.

"Not only are we going to reduce that footprint but we are going to bring many benefits with it", Rodríguez said.

But Jairo Quirós, an electrical energy researcher at the University of Costa Rica, warned the plan would be challenging, and "should be viewed with some caution".

Under the roadmap launched Sunday, Costa Rica by 2050 would achieve "zero net emissions", meaning it would produce no more emissions than it can offset through things such as maintaining and expanding its extensive forests.

Such emission cuts - which many countries are expected to try to achieve in the second half of the century - are key to holding increases in global temperature to well under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Costa Rica plan aims to allow the country to continue growing economically while cutting greenhouse gases. The country's economy grew at 3 percent last year, according to World Bank data.

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Reuters, 25 Feb 2019: Costa Rica launches 'unprecedented' push for zero emissions by 2050