Costa Rica has set a goal to eliminate all single-use plastics and fossil fuels by 2021. If it achieves this milestone, it would be the first country to become carbon neutral.

President Carlos Alvarado Quesada announced the ambitious plan at his inauguration in early 2020. It’s not too far fetched since the country already gets almost 99% of its energy from renewable sources. The country uses resources like rivers, volcanos, geothermal, solar, and wind power to make energy.

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“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first. “When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate… that we’ve removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation,” Quesada said in his inauguration speech.

In 2019, the government announced a plan to eliminate single-use plastics by 2021. After that, all single-use items must be recyclable or biodegradable. Petroleum based single-use items will not be allowed in Costa Rica. The country used 100% renewable energy for 300 days straight in 2017.

Economist Mónica Araya, a Costa Rican sustainability expert and director of Costa Rica Limpia spoke to Democracy Now about the country’s goals. Learn more about the country’s plans in this interview:

The country is now looking at switching to all-electric cars and incentivizing citizens to make electric transport as cost-efficient as gas.

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Read more about Costa Rica and other countries working toward climate positive futures, including Germany’s climate plan and Australia’s renewable power initiatives.

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