Tue May 19th, 2015 at 06:03:10 PM EST
Costa Rica has provided all of its electricity from renewables, usually a mix of 68 percent hydro, 15 percent geothermal, and 17% mostly diesel and gas, for the first 100 days of 2015. The Tico Times reports (http://www.ticotimes.net/2015/04/22/costa-ricas-renewable-energy-streak-is-still-going-but-what-does
"The clean energy streak is likely to continue. Last Friday [April 17, 2015] ICE (Costa Rica Electricity Institute) released a report estimating that 97 percent of the country's electricity will be produced from renewables this year. This is good news for Costa Rican residents, who will see their electricity prices drop up to 15 percent starting this month."
In 2016, Costa Rica is a launching a satellite to monitor CO2 across the world tropical belt
"...the first Central American satellite, built in Costa Rica, will be launched into space in 2016. The satellite will collect and relay daily data on carbon dioxide to evaluate the effects of climate change."
Costa Rica announced in 2009 that it plans to be a carbon neutral country by 2021 and they are following through on that planning.
The Costa Rican goal is zero carbon by 2021 and they intend to get there by following a formula of E - R - C = 0
Emissions minus Reductions minus Compensation (reforestation and other measures) equals Zero.
They estimate they will have
21.6 millions tons of Emissions of CO2e [CO2 equivalent] by 2021
minus 4.1 million tons in planned Reductions through energy efficiency and other programs
minus 17.5 million tons of Compensation through reforestation
to equal Zero.
These calculations are relatively easy to do for most if not all countries.
Costa Rica is particularly good at compensation through reforestation as they went from 21% forest cover in 1987 to 51% in 2005. 54 countries in the tropical belt, the same area which the 2016 satellite will cover, are studying the forestry and reforestation practices of Costa Rica.
For all their success with renewable electricity, Costa Rica's largest carbon output comes from the transportation sector and liquid fuels (plus at least 10% of their previous electricity supply). They plan to use excess run of river hydro and, possibly, geothermal in off-peak hours to generate hydrogen as part of the solution.
Since September 2013, the "Costa Rican Voluntary Domestic Carbon Market" has traded Certified Emissions Reductions from the United Nation's Clean Development Mechanism.
In a unique move, Costa Rica launched an environmental bank, aptly named BanCO2! - to broker carbon trades. The bank is setting up an exchange where companies can buy and sell carbon credits. Currently, it costs $5 for a ton of carbon....
The market is now on the order of a million tons of carbon per year and these funds will be used for projects that capture and sequester carbon like forest protection and reforestation, reduce emissions, and increase energy efficiency.
Costa Rica has proposed a global application of this idea to the world community.
They are not the only Latin American country doing something about their carbon emissions either:
Uruguay, a country that lacks fossil fuels but has abundant wind, has invested heavily in wind energy and expects 94 percent of its electricity to be from renewable sources in 2015. Colombia gets 70 percent of its electricity from hydropower, whereas Costa Rica has a goal of using renewable sources--mostly hydro and wind--for all of its electricity needs. Chile, which has South America's most developed economy, is building the region's largest solar plant in the Atacama Desert and has approved the region's first carbon tax, which will take effect in 2018.