New Costa Rican president wants ban on fossil fuels and internal combustion engines by 2021

May 30, 2018

By Tom Embury-Dennis

Costa Rica’s new president has announced a plan to ban fossil fuels and become the first fully decarbonized country in the world.

Carlos Alvarado, a 38-year-old former journalist, made the announcement to a crowd of thousands during his inauguration on Wednesday. 

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado

“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,” Mr Alvarado said.

“We have the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies.”

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Symbolically, the president arrived at the ceremony in San Jose aboard a hydrogen-fuelled bus.

Last month, Alvarado said the Central American country would begin to implement a plan to end fossil fuel use in transport by 2021 – the 200th year of Costa Rican independence. 

“When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate … that we’ve removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation,” he promised during a victory speech.

“We have the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies.”

“A proposal like this one must be seen by its rhetoric value and not by its technical precision,” Mr Lara said.

Oscar Echeverría, president of the Vehicle and Machinery Importers Association, said the transition away from fossil fuels in transport cannot be rushed as the clean transport market is so far undeveloped.

“If there’s no previous infrastructure, competence, affordable prices and waste management we’d be leading this process to failure. We need to be careful,” Mr Echeverría said.

But economist Monica Araya, a Costa Rican sustainability expert and director of Costa Rica Limpia, which promotes renewable energy and electric transport, said that in a country already rapidly weaning itself off fossil fuels, focusing on transport – one of the last major challenges – could send a powerful message to the world.

Several European countries have announced dates when the sale of motor vehicles with internal combustion engines will be banned and the European Parilament is considering legislation that would make the ban applicable to all EU nations.
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Credit: The Independent, www.independent.co.uk

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