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Costa Rica is one of the few developing countries with an absolute and unconditional emissions reduction target. Costa Rica’s NDC states its long-term intention to become carbon neutral by 2085, but this contradicts the carbon neutral target of 2021 set out in the 2008 National Climate Change Strategy (ENCC).
Costa Rica’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) sets an unconditional target to keep net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 9.37 MtCO2e in 2030 including Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). The CAT estimates that this is equal to 14.5 MtCO2e excluding LULUCF. Based on this target, we rate Costa Rica’s 2030 NDC as “2°C compatible.”
The NDC also puts forward an indicative level of emissions (incl. LULUCF) of 10.9 MtCO2e for 2021 (equivalent to about 9% above 2010 emissions levels excl. LULUCF). We estimate that Costa Rica’s 2030 target of 9.37 MtCO2e incl. LULUCF is equivalent to an increase of 138% above 1990 levels, excluding LULUCF. If Costa Rica were to renew its commitment to carbon neutrality in 2021, as expressed in the ENCC, and maintain carbon neutrality into the future, the CAT would upgrade its rating to 1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible.
Commitments with the “2°C compatible” rating, like Costa Rica’s, are consistent with the 2009 Copenhagen 2°C goal and therefore fall within the country’s fair share range, but are not fully consistent with the Paris Agreement. If all government targets were in this range, warming could be held below, but not well below, 2°C and still be too high to be consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit.
According to our analysis, Costa Rica will need to implement additional policies to reach its proposed targets. Costa Rica’s climate-related policies and programmes include a domestic carbon market, a carbon neutral certification scheme for businesses, NAMAs in the agricultural sector, and the National Energy Plan. Costa Rica also has a national strategy for REDD+, and expects to increase the size of the sink of the forestry sector. Costa Rica’s electricity generation already runs on a very high share of renewable sources, but emissions from transport, industry, and waste are expected to grow under current policies. If the CAT were to rate Costa Rica’s projected emissions levels in 2030 under current policies, we would rate Costa Rica “Insufficient.”
Costa Rica will go through an internal process to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 goal from 2021 onwards (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, 2015a). Further policies i.e. reducing energy demand, further decarbonising the energy supply, fuel switching and carbon sink management will need to be implemented for Costa Rica to meet its target. The government is engaged in multiple sectoral dialogues to better understand the most attractive mitigation actions. Examples of the policies considered include a goal to have 100% electricity generated from renewable energy, better agricultural practices, waste management in cities, and electric transportation (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, 2015a).
In the forestry sector, current efforts are mainly the Low Emissions Development Strategies and a REDD+ (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) strategy at the national level. Also, as included in NAMAs (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions), the metrics to assess the potential for removals and emissions are under review and continuous improvement (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, 2015b). Emissions excluding LULUCF could increase significantly from historic levels and require attention to further decarbonise the economy. We don’t include the forestry sector in our rating – please see the CAT’s NDC ratings and LULUCF page for more details.