Costa Rica

Overall rating
Almost Sufficient
Policies & action
1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible
< 1.5°C World
Internationally supported target
Almost Sufficient
< 2°C World
Fair share target
1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible
< 1.5°C World
Climate finance
Not applicable
Net zero target

year

2050

Comprehensiveness rated as

Acceptable
Land use & forestry

historically considered a

Sink

Overview

This assessment includes our policy analysis from 30 July 2020 translated into our new rating methodology without new analysis of Costa Rica’s climate policies since then, except the NDC update submitted in December 2020. We will fully analyse Costa Rica in the coming months and the rating may change.

Overall rating
Almost Sufficient

The CAT rates Costa Rica’s climate targets and policies as “Almost sufficient”. The “Almost sufficient” rating indicates that while Costa Rica’s climate policies are consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit, its climate commitments are not, but could be with moderate improvements.

Costa Rica’s 2030 emissions reduction target of “maximum absolute net emissions of 9.11 MtCO2e incl. LULUCF” is rated as “Almost sufficient” when compared to modelled domestic emissions pathways and “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” when compared with its fair-share contribution to climate action. Costa Rica’s policies are in line to what is needed to limit warming to 1.5°C, but its target need some improvements. While Costa Rica’s target meets its fair-share contribution to limiting warming to 1.5°C, it needs additional support to implement additional policies and to strengthen its reduction target, in order to get national emissions on a pathway compatible with 1.5°C.

Policies & action
1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible

We rate Costa Rica’s policies and actions—based on our assessment from 30 July 2020—as “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible”. The “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” rating indicates that Costa Rica’s climate policies and action are consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Costa Rica’s climate policies and action do not require other countries to make comparably deeper reductions. Costa Rica’s projections from policies and action will be updated in the coming months, and its rating could change.

Costa Rica is the first Latin American country where a COVID-19 case was reported but, due to its swift political response, the government has so far been able to keep transmission rates low. A recession in 2020 is nonetheless inevitable due to the drop in tourism, which resulted in a loss of over 350 million USD in the month of April 2020 alone, and domestic activity. In a recent speech, President Carlos Alvarado recognised the importance of a green recovery, stressing that in these difficult times Costa Rica “raises the voice of solidarity and union to tell the world to invest its resources in the fight against climate change.”

The National Decarbonisation Plan is more ambitious than Costa Rica’s Paris Agreement targets for 2030 and 2050. The government presented an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in December 2020, which was informed by the National Decarbonisation plan, as well as other climate policy planning documents, including the National Strategic 2050 plan.

Costa Rica has had ambitious goals on climate for the last ten years, but its policies are now catching up. According to our analysis, under a pathway following the current NDC commitments, Costa Rica would achieve carbon neutrality in 2085. However, if Costa Rica were to implement all the new policies mentioned in its new Decarbonisation Plan, it could achieve carbon neutrality 35 years earlier, i.e. by 2050.

The full analysis of policies and action can be found here.

Internationally supported target
Almost Sufficient

In the absence of a target conditional of international support, we rate Costa Rica’s unconditional 2030 reduction target as “Almost sufficient” when compared with modelled domestic emissions pathways. The “Almost sufficient” rating indicates that Costa Rica’s internationally supported target—emissions reductions through support from other governments in its own territory —in 2030 is not yet consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit but could be, with moderate improvements.

Costa Rica’s updated climate target represents a significant improvement compared to its first NDC, however it is not stringent enough to limit warming to 1.5°C. To improve its rating and be consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit, Costa Rica could submit a conditional 2030 climate target that is at least 18% lower than its current unconditional target (equivalent to an absolute emissions limit of 11 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF in 2030) and, if necessary, outline the international support that it would need to achieve it.

Fair share target
1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible

We rate Costa Rica’s 2030 NDC target as “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” when compared with its fair-share contribution to climate action. The “1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible” rating indicates that Costa Rica’s fair share target is consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Costa Rica’s fair share target does not require other countries to make comparably deeper reductions or greater effort and is in the most stringent part of its Fair Share range.

Land use & forestry
Sink

Over the last 20 years, Costa Rica had an average LULUCF sinks whose magnitude was more than 20% of all other emissions. Costa Rica should work toward maintaining this LULUCF sink. For more information about forestry activities in Costa Rica, please see the policies & action section.

Net zero target
Acceptable

We evaluate the net zero target as “Acceptable”. Costa Rica’s target covers all sectors and gases underpinned by emissions pathway analysis and the communication of strategic goals and emissions targets per sector. Pathways and key measures are identified comprehensively with interim goals attributable to discernible periods to reach net zero through domestic actions and without the use of international credits. The Costa Rican government currently fails to provide explicit and transparent assumptions on several key elements. Strikingly, Costa Rica provides no information on its intention to establish a periodic reviewing cycle of measures and interim targets.

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