With a population of around 5 million, Costa Rica may be small, but it certainly isn’t unremarkable. Today, it’s leading the world in renewables and carbon neutrality.

Back in 2009, the NEF (New Economics Foundation) identified the Latin American nation as the greenest country in the world. A decade later, Costa Rica provided nearly 99% of its power from renewable energy sources.

The Tico Times breaks the country’s 2019 renewables down to 4 main categories:

• 67.5% hydropower
• 17% wind
• 13.5% geothermal
• 0.84% biomass and solar panels

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Now, already leading climate change efforts with its renewable energy template, Costa Rica is setting its sights on carbon neutrality – by 2021.

The goal, however, is not a complete ban on fossil fuels. The government hopes to gradually phase them out while, in the meantime, offsetting current greenhouse gas emissions by maintaining and expanding the country’s vast natural forests.

Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, explained the government’s approach: “we don’t plan to ban the use of fossil fuels, we plan to phase them out through new policies and incentives so that eventually, down the road, they will be useless”.

In order to meet the zero-emissions target by 2021, Costa Rica will most likely have to focus on transportation, which contributes to up to two-thirds of the country’s emissions. The government has already introduced incentives by cutting taxes on electric vehicles, but the journey towards carbon neutrality is far from over.