Costa Rica’s War on Climate Change

On the podcast: How a tiny Central American country became a leader in reducing carbon emissions.

By , the executive editor for news and podcasts at Foreign Policy.
Wind mills of the National Power and Light Company in Santa Ana, Costa Rica, on Oct. 23, 2015. (Ezequiel Becerra/AFP/Getty Images)
Wind mills of the National Power and Light Company in Santa Ana, Costa Rica, on Oct. 23, 2015. (Ezequiel Becerra/AFP/Getty Images)
Wind mills of the National Power and Light Company in Santa Ana, Costa Rica, on Oct. 23, 2015. (Ezequiel Becerra/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest U.S. government study on climate change, released last week, predicted dire consequences around the globe by 2040 if steps aren’t taken to reduce carbon emissions. It echoed a U.N. report from October that said the world has only 12 years to address rising temperatures. The consequences for inaction? Droughts, floods, extreme heat, and climate-related deaths.

But U.S. President Donald Trump has consistently rejected the scientific consensus on the issue: that climate change is due to human influence. In June 2017, he pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, a coalition of 195 signatory countries.

While some European countries have agreed to reduce their carbon emissions over a period of time, the country with one of the most ambitious plans to wean itself of fossil fuels is Costa Rica. Our guest on the podcast this week is one of the leaders of the Costa Rican campaign, Monica Araya. She is the director of Costa Rica Limpia, a nongovernmental organization that promotes carbon neutrality and clean energy.

The latest U.S. government study on climate change, released last week, predicted dire consequences around the globe by 2040 if steps aren’t taken to reduce carbon emissions. It echoed a U.N. report from October that said the world has only 12 years to address rising temperatures. The consequences for inaction? Droughts, floods, extreme heat, and climate-related deaths.

But U.S. President Donald Trump has consistently rejected the scientific consensus on the issue: that climate change is due to human influence. In June 2017, he pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, a coalition of 195 signatory countries.

While some European countries have agreed to reduce their carbon emissions over a period of time, the country with one of the most ambitious plans to wean itself of fossil fuels is Costa Rica. Our guest on the podcast this week is one of the leaders of the Costa Rican campaign, Monica Araya. She is the director of Costa Rica Limpia, a nongovernmental organization that promotes carbon neutrality and clean energy.

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