"Costa Rica was the first tropical country to stop and reverse deforestation," the article said.
- Photo for illustration purposes only -

Published on Wednesday, September 1, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services

Andrea Meza, Minister of Environment, was recognized for her ambitious plan to combat climate change in a Washington Post special report.

According to the report, even as it pursues some of the world’s most ambitious plans to combat climate change, this smaller Central American country would need to somehow create a path for the rest of the planet to follow suit. "And the obstacles to charting that path were far greater than the environmental minister could have imagined," states the article.

Meza took on the role of Costa Rica’s Environment and Energy Minister in the middle of the pandemic while an economic crisis was slashing resources across the government. "And she did so knowing she would likely have little time in the job before a new administration takes office next May and risks disrupting the country’s aggressive climate plans," article added.

"Costa Rica was the first tropical country to stop and reverse deforestation," the article said.  Also, the country has managed to produce about 99 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, "a rare accomplishment even among the wealthiest nations," they said. And in 2019, it became one of the first countries to craft a national decarbonization plan, written by Meza in her previous job as director of climate change, which aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The plan was heralded as a model for the region and the world and prompted the United Nations to grant Costa Rica the Champions of the Earth award.

"But then, the pandemic’s economic crisis forced emergency budget cuts across the environmental ministry, threatening to upend critical programs," the article said. "Other environmental initiatives, including a bill to permanently ban oil and gas exploration, continued to face intense opposition in Congress. And in recent months, a massive public corruption investigation led to several officials in the administration being accused of accepting bribes from construction companies, further eroding trust in the government for many Costa Ricans."

According to the Washington Post, Meza is now tasked with showing the world whether a small, developing country like hers can overcome these challenges and rebuild its economy in a way that protects the climate. "If Costa Rica can do it, what’s stopping much bigger and wealthier countries from following its lead?, " they asked.

“If we can start this transformation, if we can demonstrate that it is possible, this is what Costa Rica is about,” Meza said in her interview. “We can give hope.”

The progress, so far, has been slow: By the end of 2020, the country had begun working toward more than 90 percent of its goals for 2022, the first phase of the decarbonization plan. The country has launched a pilot program with three electric buses in San José, a small step toward its goal of converting 30 percent of the public transport fleet to zero emissions by 2035.

Costa Rica has so far protected 2.9 percent of its oceans, and aims to reach 30 percent by 2030.  But Meza wants to meet that goal even sooner, in less than a year, before she passes on the job to a new environmental minister. “It’s ambitious,” she said. “But possible.”

The full article about Minister Meza plan can be read on the Washington Post website.

How ambitious is Minister Meza's plan to combat climate change in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com

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