San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica ranked 2nd in the world for 'environmental sustainability'

Costa Rica held steady at the No. 2 spot, just behind Switzerland, in the World Energy Council’s global “environmental sustainability” ranking. The dimension was one of three used by the organization to assess global energy sustainability.

Costa Rica may have missed the “green” ring but the Central American nation remains at the head of the Latin American pack. Nicaragua had the lowest sustainability ranking in the region (88), just below the United States (87). 

The vast majority of Costa Rica’s electricity generation comes from renewable sources, with 75.9 percent derived from hydroelectric power, followed by 17.7 percent from other renewables like wind power. Only 6.4 percent of small country’s electricity comes from conventional thermal sources.

The WEC released its annual 2013 World Energy Trilemma report Tuesday to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. The council measures sustainability as an index of three variables: energy security, social equity and environmental impact.

Costa Rica ranked 21st in the world on the WEC’s 2013 Energy Sustainability Index with a score of ABB, still the highest in Latin America, up from 37th in 2012.

Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden won the top three spots on the Sustainability Index, with AAA scores, the highest possible.

Costa Rica has long cultivated a name for itself in “green” energy and sustainability. Recently, President Laura Chinchilla signed a decree establishing the first voluntary carbon market in the developing world as part of the country’s goal to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2021. 

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