Costa Rica

Overall rating
Almost Sufficient

Policies and action
against fair share

1.5°C compatible
< 1.5°C World

NDC target
against modelled domestic pathways

Almost Sufficient
< 2°C World

NDC target
against fair share

1.5°C compatible
< 1.5°C World
Climate finance
Not applicable
Net zero target



Comprehensiveness rated as

Land use & forestry

historically considered a



We evaluate the net zero target as: Acceptable.

Costa Rica announced a net zero target for 2050 in its National Decarbonisation Plan 2018-2050 (Government of Costa Rica, 2019c). The net zero target covers most key elements but fails to meet best practice standards for some of them. Costa Rica’s target covers all sectors and gases and is 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. To further improve its strategy, Costa Rica could provide separate targets for emission reductions and removals and include emissions from international aviation and shipping. The policy document has also not yet been enshrined in law, which could make targets and measures legally binding and more perspicuous.

Costa Rica
Comprehensiveness of net zero target design
Target year: 2050
Emissions coverage

Target covers all GHG emissions

International aviation and shipping

The target excludes both international aviation and shipping

Reductions or removals outside of own borders

Plans to reach net zero through domestic actions and no removals outside borders

Legal Status

Net zero target in proposed legislation or in a policy document

Separate reduction & removal targets

Separate emission reduction and removal targets

Review Process

Non-legally binding process to review net zero target OR In process of establishing a review cycle for net zero

Carbon dioxide removal

Transparent assumptions or pathways for LULUCF and removals

Comprehensive planning

Underlying (governmental or government-endorsed) analysis that identifies a pathway to and key measures for reaching net zero. The analysis includes sector-specific detail

Clarity on fairness of target

Country makes no reference to fairness or equity in the context of its net zero target

Ten key elements


  • Target year – Costa Rica aims to reach net zero by 2050.
  • Emissions coverage – The target covers all GHG emissions (i.e., the 7 Kyoto gases: CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, NF3) and all sectors of the economy (excluding international bunkers).
  • International aviation and shipping – Costa Rica provides no information on its intention to cover emissions from international aviation and shipping.
  • Reductions or removals outside of own borders – Costa Rica plans to reach net zero through domestic actions and will not use reductions or removals outside its borders towards its net zero goal.

Target architecture

  • Legal status – Costa Rica includes the net zero target in its National Decarbonisation Plan, which is the country’s LTS submitted to the UNFCCC (Government of Costa Rica, 2019c).
  • Separate reduction & removal targets – The National Decarbonisation Plan does not explicitly set separate reduction and removal targets. However, the Plan estimates sectoral emissions by 2050. Energy, industrial processes, agriculture, and waste are estimated to emit 5.5 MtCO2e and the AFOLU sector to remove net 5.5 MtCO2e.
  • Review process – Costa Rica has no formal review mechanism but provides that it will update the National Decarbonisation Plan and provide more detailed information on the medium- and long-term measures as new conditions arise.


  • Carbon dioxide removal – Costa Rica provides a transparent pathway for agriculture, forestry, and other land uses (AFOLU) net emissions until 2050.
  • Comprehensive planning – The strategy sets period goals and provides interim visions across ten “axes of the decarbonisation” such as development of a renewable mobility system, transformation to a zero-emissions vehicle fleet, promotion of a sustainable freight transport, consolidation of the national electricity system, development of high efficiency and low-emission buildings, the transformation of the industrial sector, an integrated waste management system, promotion of highly efficient and low-carbon agro-food systems, consolidation of an eco-competitive livestock model, and facilitating the protection of biodiversity based on nature-based solution. For each axis, interim goals and activities are outlined for three distinct periods (2019–2022, 2023–2030, 2031–2050). The strategy highlights eight overarching and cross-cutting strategies.
  • Clarity on fairness of target – Costa Rica does not provide information on why it considers its net zero target a fair or equitable contribution to the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Good practice

The Climate Action Tracker has defined the following good practice for all ten key elements of net zero targets. Countries can refer to this good practice to design or enhance their net zero targets.

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