San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Climate Change

Costa Rica calls for climate change support from world's top polluters

The president of Costa Rica called on developed economies to put their money where their mouth is on climate change during an address to the United Nations in Geneva, on Monday.

President Luis Guillermo Solís said that polluters have been freeloading on the efforts of developing countries like Costa Rica to preserve forests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Solís called on the world’s wealthiest nations to provide more economic support to middle- and lower-income countries working to curb the impact of climate change.

The Costa Rican president’s comments came as the Group of Seven nations were meeting in Bonn, Germany, to discuss climate change commitments.

“We developing countries cannot continue subsidizing emissions from the countries who pollute the most. The time to talk is over, it’s time to take responsibility and take collective and solidarity action,” Solís said.

The president said that assistance should focus on improving access to new technology for developing nations and access to favorable financing.

Solís also called on the biggest polluters to accept emission quotas in the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. He said that any commitments should be uniform, measurable and transparent, available to the public for review.

Due to end on Friday, the 11-day Bonn talks are tasked with shaping a draft text for the U.N. conference in Paris, held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, which must yield a global agreement. But after a week of wrangling, just about 5 percent had been shaved off a sprawling near-90-page draft, mostly by removing glaring duplications, said delegates.

The final document is supposed to enshrine the will of 195 countries to roll back climate change, spell out commitments to tackle greenhouse gases and provide aid to vulnerable economies from 2020.

Costa Rica has made a commitment to be the world’s first CO2-neutral country by its bicentennial in 2021.

AFP contributed to this report.

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Murray Greer

… Also … don’t forget that the Tarcoles River has been ranked as the most polluted river in all of Central America !!!

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Murray Greer

I don’t know … Costa Rica also talks a good game … take a ride through the countryside and count how many people are burning trash, plastics, paints, etc. Where are the community recycle centers. I live in Guanacaste and I have to take my recycling to a Tico resident who collects for our area for income. There is no national recycling program … Costa Rica has done very little to squash the shark finning in Puntarenas and went so far as to try and arrest Paul Watson for unveiling the secret to the world. And don’t get me started on noise pollution … how many times per day do I have to hear a car drive by with amplifiers strapped to the rooftop blaring where “tequila shots are free on ladies night”. Never mind, when some business wants to set up a booth at the front of an appliance or grocery store. The music and volume are at deafening levels … Lots of room for improvement “here on the ground”despite what the politicians believe of in “LA-LA Land” !!!

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Jim Ryan

Sure the developing nations should be assisted by more developed and economically affluent nations, but at the same time, Costa Rica has a responsibility to ‘help itself’ and to at least make an sincere effort towards achieving its own carbon reduction goals.
For example, there are two ‘low hanging fruits’ that the government agencies don’t seem willing to touch, which would directly reduce carbon, as well as improve economic competitiveness (of families and businesses alike), and which cost the government virtually nothing to implement.
Specifically, these include…..
1) Introduce ToU (Time of Use) electricity tariffs in all electricity distribution companies. These are tariffs that reflect to consumers the actual costs of power production, by increasing at hours of peak demand, ie when ICE is burning oil to generate power. The electricity distributors have opposed these tariffs because they offer consumers a clear means to reduce their costs, ie by doing laundry or food preparation at night, when prices may be 500% lower than the peak hours.
These ToU rates are offered to industrial consumers to help them control their costs, but ARESEP needs to require all electricity distribution companies to do so. Savvy consumers will take advantage of the ToU rates to avoid using air-con, pool pumps, irrigation pumps, laundry equipment, etc during the peak (oil burning) times, which will have a direct impact on the nation’s oil consumption for power generation.
This change is long-overdue……ARESEP needs to act on this issue in the interests of consumers as well as the environment…..and it costs the government nothing!
2) Allow private citizens to generate their own power with clean, efficient solar generation – while paying REASONABLE costs to the utility companies for grid-access and net-metering.
Any home or business in the country should be allowed to utilize the publicly owned electrical grid in order to invest in private, distributed generation for homes, business, schools, government, etc. By investing in their own generation, consumers will save money and help reduce carbon, as well as reduce the massive borrowing of the government (ICE) to build new power plants.
ICE’s new senior management is vehemently opposed to citizen’s having this right, as they are committed to re-asserting their monopoly power in the energy market. Unfortunately their vision is backward looking, and isn’t consistent with what is good for the nation, good for the environment, or what much of the rest of the world is doing in respect of promoting private, small-scale clean energy generation (mostly solar).
If they have their way you will never see solar panels in San Jose……..wheras if you travel now to Guatemala City, San Salvador, Panama City, etc every day you see more and more solar projects powering homes, businesses and yes government offices. But of course, those are countries where the regulatory body and major utilities are not both part of the same government, and in this case, a government evidently more concerned with supporting national monopolies and their labor unions rather than supporting the people.
Yes these ‘low hanging fruit’ are obvious means to utilize our nation’s abundant natural resources to reduce consumer’s costs, as well as their carbon emissions. But they are politically sensitive because they are opposed by the powerful electricity distributors who don’t want their consumers to have the ability to install solar panels, which reduce their purchases from the utility.
The ‘technology transfer’ Solis is asking for has already been largely accomplished. One example it the highly efficient and low-cost solar panels which are readily available.
Now the Costa Rican government needs to accept and implement a ‘policy transfer’ which emulates the enlightened policies toward private, distributed generation that are stimulating its rapid growth in countries around the world. both developed and developing. But if Solis and his government agencies won’t or don’t implement policies friendly to private, small-scale renewable energy production, they are ignoring the best, quickest, lowest cost and most obvious means to benefit Costa Rica’s economy and the environment at the same time.
It’s time for Solis to exhibit some leadership, and stop Costa Rica from going in reverse compared to its neighbors in Central America and much of the world who see monopoly utilities who exert anti-competitive behavior, along with their large, centralized power plants, as increasingly a thing of the past. Costa Rica could be, should be a leader in promoting small-scale renewable energy and smart-grid technologies. (It is the only democratic country in the world where one authority, one Board of Directors, controls both power generation and communications/internet). But again, only strong leadership will counterbalance the powerful influence of the entrenched utilities that don’t want any erosion to their sales and any alternatives to be available for their consumers.
Thank you,
Jim Ryan

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