"Carbon neutral" was the word of the year in 2006, and the goal of a variety of business entities. On Friday, Costa Rica announced it's plans to become the world's first carbon neutral country by 2030. According to ENN,
Environment Minister Roberto Dobles said the tiny, jungle-cloaked Central American nation would clean up its fossil fuel-fired power plants, promote hybrid vehicles and increase tree planting to balance its emissions.The country already has a head start, as the vast majority of its electricity is generated by water, wind and geothermal heat. It will focus its efforts on transportation, industry and farming, and take steps such as paying landowners to grow trees, protect watersheds, and preserve wildlife habitats and "natural beauty."Of course, offsetting emissions is a controversial practice, and Juan Figuerola, forestry coordinator for the Costa Rican Conservation Federation, is critical of the announcement: "It's a deception to allow polluters to continue to pollute with makeup to mask it," he said. On the other hand, an official from the World Wildlife Fund has dubbed Costa Rica's payment program, which has been in existence since 1997, "innovative."
"The goal is to be carbon neutral," Dobles told Reuters. "We'd like to do it in the next 20 years." He said Costa Rica would also eliminate net emissions of other greenhouse gases.
Is this a worthy goal for this small country? Dobles' announcement notes that the country will be working to reduce pollution as well as creating offsets, so labeling the government's efforts "masking" seems a bit harsh. Creating the goal itself (which Norway has also done, though with a longer time frame) seems a step in the right direction. ::ENN via linton at Hugg
Image: National Park Tapamti in Orosi by Reuters/Juan Carlos Ulate