Costa Rica possesses an abundance of water resources, whereas more than 95% of power generation comes from renewable energy, and now the country is striving to achieve decarbonization in transportation by aiming for zero emission by 2050. The Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica is also planning to discuss the “Permanent Ban on Fossil Fuel Exploration and Excavation Act” this week.
Costa Rica had elevated the ratio of green energy to 99% back in 2015, with 80% being hydroelectricity and 11.5% being wind power, and managed to not initiate fuel power generation for 300 days in 2017. Most of the existing petroleum imports of the country are provided for transportation, and the country had started to propel the EV incentive measure since 2019, when the national decarbonization scheme was also commenced.
The petroleum ban of Costa Rica has been around for quite some time now. Under the instructions of former President Abel Pacheco, the country started the prohibitions on fossil fuel exploration and excavation in 2002, which was initially set to expire in 2014, before it was extended to 2050 by other succeeding presidents, and now the current President Carlos Alvarado Quesada plans to permanently ban all exploration activities of fossil fuel.
There are only a few countries that have decided to completely ban all exploration and excavation of petroleum, natural gas, and fossil fuel. For example, Belize, which is also in Central America, has banned exploration and drilling within its territorial waters, and France is also hoping to do the same thing by 2040.
However, not every country has such previous resources, which makes it even more valuable in economic and trade aspects. Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, commented that the current target is to eliminate this “temptation”, since no one knows if the current government or its successors are going to once again embrace fossil fuel.
Paola Vega, the deputy of the legislative assembly, told the Reuters that this prohibition has emitted a powerful message to the world.
Costa Rica is determined in a continuous advancement on the path of carbon reduction, though the prohibition is naturally going to derive oppositions from another group of individuals. Some people believe that these natural resources are able to bring the country back from the slump created by the COVID-19 pandemic, where the country had fallen to 8.7 in GDP during 2020. Despite a relatively high economical level in Central and South America, the wealth gap of Costa Rica remains significant.
Figueres believes that it is “absolutely meaningless” to revoke the excavation ban for economic recovery purposes. The storage of fossil fuel is not yet known for Costa Rica, and it would take 10-15 years of time to gain profitability even if the level is sufficient, where the demand for petroleum and natural gas may further deteriorate then.
(Cover photo source: pixabay)