Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is one of the few countries to have outlined an updated climate change mitigation plan in 2019: the National Decarbonisation Plan 2018-2050. It announces emission reductions in all sectors, with strategies including: electrifying public transport, energy efficiency measures, better farming and waste management practices.
According to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), The National Decarbonisation Plan would allow Costa Rica to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 if properly implemented. The country is expected to submit its new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) as part of the Paris Agreement this year, although the pandemic may force them to postpone. Costa Rica was the first Latin American country to report a COVID-19 case this year, but swift action by the government has kept numbers low. The economy has suffered primarily due to a lack of tourism, which accounts for an estimated USD 350 million lost in the month of April 2020 alone. While the recession has come with a drop in emissions, recovery might prioritize non-sustainable measures.
- Costa Rica’s current NDC is rated as “2°C compatible” by the CAT, and its new National Decarbonisation Plan could put it very close to the “1.5°C compatible” range.
- This new plan, if implemented, could allow them to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has put Costa Rica through in a recession, and it remains to be seen whether sustainable development will be at the heart of its recovery strategy.
* Our Climate Change Ranking considers this country’s efforts toward climate change insufficient and thus has not ranked it.
** Our Energy ranking considers emission intensity (units of energy per unit of GDP). When one or both are low enough to make their influence negligible on a global scale, the country is left out of the ranking.
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.