Costa Rica has placed climate change at the top of its agenda arguing that a climate neutral economy is also a competitive one.
The aim is to achieve the neutrality goal by 2021 to coincide with the country's 200th anniversary of independence.
The strategy will build on Costa Rica's decision to tax fossil fuels in 1996 with 3.5 per cent of the money raised allocated to the National Forestry Financing Fund.
These, along with other financial support such as loans and grants, are part of a payment for environmental services programme that pays landowners who manage forests for their carbon sequestration and storage alongside management for water production, biodiversity and scenic beauty.
Costa Rica's avoided deforestation programme will include support for the Billion Tree Campaign established by UNEP and the World Agroforestry Centre, whose patrons are Wangari Maathai and Prince Albert of Monaco.
Other elements of the strategy include increasing the percentage of renewable energy generation to well over 90 per cent and action on energy efficiency including energy saving appliances.
Biofuels and a switch to electric and hybrid buses and cars are also part of the plan alongside capture and use of methane from landfills and wastewater treatment plants as a fuel.
- In 2007 Costa Rica planted more than five million trees or 1.25 per person making it the highest per capita planting in the world. Source: United Nations Environment Programme, December 12 2007
"The decision to become climate neutral had been taken by President Oscar Arias as part of the new Presidential initiative called Peace with Nature. The Peace with Nature initiative honours the ethical, human, social, environmental and economic approach which Costa Rica has towards the environment and sustainable development." Paulo Manso, Chief of Costa Rica's delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
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- United Nations Environment Programme, December 12 2007
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