Costa Rica’s reputation as a country that values sustainability is widely known: Its environmental policies have long protected land from deforestation, and it has built an economy around eco-tourism. But the country’s latest announcement — its aim for carbon neutrality by 2050 declared by President Carlos Alvarado in February — has attracted the attention of climate experts all the same. Although countries such as Denmark have started paving the way to reaching similar zero-emissions goals, the fact that this news is coming from a Central American nation bodes well for the rest of the world, they say. That’s because Costa Rica will serve as a model for how developing countries in particular can address climate change. “We can be that example … we have to inspire people,” Alvarado said when he launched the plan.
The country’s biggest efforts are related to transportation, which is the main source of emissions — at about 40 percent. Modernizing public transport is key, and that process will include building an electric train line to serve the metropolitan area of San Jose, the country’s capital and largest city. The Costa Rican Institute of Railways says the new line will link half of the area’s neighborhoods and be able to easily reach 250,000 of its 1 million residents. Construction is expected to begin in 2022. Additional efforts include making 70 percent of the country’s buses electric by 2035 and removing 50 percent of cars from urban roadways by 2040.
In collaboration with the World Resources Institute, FedEx supports similar sustainable transportation developments in Brazil, Mexico, China and India. Learn more about one of our ongoing programs in India, the Better Bus Challenge.