The Climate Crisis and Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been hailed as one of the most progressive countries when it comes to taking on the climate crisis. In 2019, the country declared an economy-wide plan to “decarbonize” the country by 2050, being the first country in the Western Hemisphere to do so.

If the plan is implemented, in 2035 Costa Rica will have the same carbon footprint it did 80 years ago, and by 2050, it will be entirely carbon-free. This strategic action plan has five strategic components: metrics, mitigation, vulnerability and adaptation, capacity-building, and education, culture and public awareness. Altogether, the endeavor will encompass all aspects of the potential climate threat to the country, tackle the areas where they have control and implement precautionary and preventative actions for those they don’t.

The climate crisis will severely impact most sectors of Costa Rican society and the economy. Their responses will determine their future economic developmental successes and failures, as well as their environmental and social well-being. Already, increased rainfall, higher temperatures and pest infestation have decreased coffee yields by as much as 44%! At the same time, northern regions are experiencing droughts while in the next decade, the Southern Caribbean Costa Rica will experience threatening sea level rise, affecting drinking water and the supply of resources for agriculture. has presented the potential climate impacts on Costa Rica:

Changes in precipitation (unpredictability)

  • Drought in Guanacaste
  • Negatively affect crop yields and quality; e.g. drying out of seedlings

Changes in temperature

  • Negatively affect crop yields and quality
  • Risk of new parasites and pests
  • Heat can lead to lower productivity of workers
  • Extinction of animal species
  • Redistribution of species in the highlands
  • Loss of nebula in Monteverde and therefore less attractiveness of Monteverde as hot spot tourism destination
  • Spread of tropical diseases
  • Cancelation of tours due to unpredictable and uncomfortable climate conditions (e.g. extreme temperatures in the Caribbean)

Heavy rainfalls

  • Landslides that block roads and lead to shortages in production inputs, workers not reaching the company and transport interruption of finished products to clients.
  • Flooding of company premises which may lead the production to stop or destroy machines and stock.
  • Electricity infrastructure can be damaged and result in power outages.

For many countries, a serious plan to take on climate change is a matter of survival. Costa Rica recognizes this and has understood the costs and benefits of their program for the future.

We all have to face the fact that no matter where you live on this planet you will be impacted in the future by climate change. Costa Rica unique geography and topography has protected it from both human and natural intruders; hurricanes and tropical strorms tend to vere north out of harms way. And although Costa Rica may have advantages over other countries in the region (many are among the largest contributors to co2 emissions) it will still need to mitigate damage and prepare for what is coming.

It is definately moving the the right direction, and is going to be significantly more prepared than most of the planet’s nations.

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