By Paul Wessel
Costa Rica wants to be the little country that could by becoming fossil-fuel-free by 2050.
Its greatest challenge? Transportation.
Transportation is the largest single source of Costa Rica’s greenhouse gas emissions. The number of cars and motorcycles on the roads is growing fast, according to a survey by nongovernmental group State of the Nation. The average car in the country is 17 years old. Congestion is a huge problem; morning traffic in the San José metropolitan area moves at an average of less than 10 miles per hour. Afternoons are worse.
So we learn in the New York Times: Tiny Costa Rica Has a Green New Deal, Too. It Matters for the Whole Planet:
Revamping transportation is expensive and so it will require tackling things that have little direct connection to climate change — fixing the country’s fiscal health, for one, to be able to secure big foreign loans to fund such an ambitious project, and lowering unemployment, which is a pressing political demand. It also means addressing the aspirations of its upwardly mobile people.
The story goes on to describe the two-hour commute ordeal of a furniture company manager. Her goal to improve her quality of life? Save up enough to buy a used Suzuki subcompact.
It’s worth reading the full story, enjoy the wonderful photos, and chuckle at the first-world zinger at the very end.
Paul Wessel is director, market development at the U.S. Green Building Council.