Costa Rican officials will set out a bill this week that permanently prohibits fossil fuel exploration and extraction, which stops prospective governments “from pivoting on the issue” as the country aspires to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
In 2002, the country began its pursuit to prohibit fossil fuel exploration under the presidency of Abel Pacheco. The ban was meant to terminate in 2014, but it was later prolonged until 2050. However, the new bill, supported by President Carlos Alvarado’s administration, would take the next step through enabling a permanent ban.
“Our concern now is to remove the temptation, either today or at any time tomorrow, for there to be any current or future government who might think that returning to fossil fuels of the past century is actually a good idea for our country,” says the former U.N. climate chief and former Costa Rican government official, Christiana Figueres, who has openly encouraged the bill.
A #JustTransition to renewable energy is the way forward. The Costa Rican Congress is set to discuss a trailblazing bill to keep oil and gas in the ground, forever. #FossilFuels should be in the past! #CRLibredePerforación #keepitinthegroundhttps://t.co/NwYJQ8fV0G
— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace) August 4, 2021
Costa Rica’s interest in issuing a permanent ban appears to be a relatively unique action, as only a small number of countries have decided to prohibit the exploration and creation of fossil fuels, such as Belize, which has banned exploration and drilling in “all its territorial waters” as well as France which aims to ban the production and exploration of fossil fuels by 2040.
According to Costa Rican lawmaker, Paola Vega, a permanent ban would “send a powerful message to the world.” However, the bill for a permanent ban on fossil fuels has prompted resistance from some officials, who claim that the resources from fossil fuels may support the country to recover from an 8.7% GDP decline in 2020 when Covid-19 took form.
Related Articles: Britain Announced Ban on Petrol and Diesel Cars Sales From 2035 | A Just Transition to a Zero-carbon World Is Possible. Here’s How.
Figueres, who was also a pioneer of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, said the extraction of fossil fuels for the purpose of aiding the economy “makes absolutely no sense,” as there is no evidence to suggest that Costa Rica’s reserves offer an economic opportunity or are feasible for commercial purposes.
Figueres endorsed the prospect of Costa Rica taking climate action. She said: “Just because Costa Rica is tiny, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a voice.”
“To have small countries actually take the lead is very important, because those of us that are actually doing the right thing, we definitely punch above our weight,” Figueres added.
Costa Rica has a wealth of plant and animal life which attracts tourists from across the world, who enter their coastal resorts and jungles. It is also regarded as an exemplary country for climate change action and the country has not once extracted or explored fossil fuels. Officials say that the country attains 99% of its electricity from renewable resources, chiefly hydropower.
Although most countries have not yet banned the exploration and production of fossil fuels, the example Costa Rica has set through its efforts in tackling climate issues may inspire other countries to follow suit.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com.— In the Featured Photo: Fossil fuel emission near the sea. Featured Photo Credit: Chris LeBoutillier