Costa Rica’s Young President-elect Promises a Clean Energy Future
It is important to note that the new president-elect of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada has come out with a promise to phase out the use of diesel and petrol in the country’s transport system by replacing them with clean sources of energy with a comparison of the task to that of abolishing the army.
The new president-elect in his younger days sang as a member of a college band known as Dramatika. After college, he got his first job working at a gambling centre where he staked mainly on American teams so as to earn enough money to purchase his first guitar.
Giving the speech while addressing his supporters just after being elected president, the 38-year-old made a vow to get the economy of the little Central American nation de-carbonized while also upholding the green tradition of the nation.
Alvarado Quesada who is a former centre-left minister from the ruling party came out to make a promise of a future where the nation can bask in the euphoria of being liberated from diesel and petrol dependency in its transport system, thus replacing them with sources of clean energy.
This transformation in the words of the president-elect would be the “abolition of the army’ of our generation”, making reference to the dissolution of the country’s armed forces back in the year 1948 which still stands as a point of pride for many a Costa Ricans.
By his election, he will be the youngest among the presidents of Latin America, thus joining the exclusive league of leaders in the world who were elected at an age below 40 and also with a commitment to a future that is based on clean and renewable energy, in addition to leaders such as the Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand as well as Emmanuel Macron of France.
According to an economist, Monica Arya who is a leader in the advocacy for mobility of electricity in Costa Rica, this is simply a very young president who is sending a very clear message to the nation, with emphasis on the younger generation.
Araya made a call for the new leadership of the country to adopt the promotion of electric vehicles via the purchases of public institutions and also to form a synergy with citizens who are engaged in order to come up with greater coalitions.
The country which has a population of about 5 million people also has an electricity generation system which is almost about hundred percent low-carbon and last year (2017), the country was able to go for about 300 days without making use of fossil fuels for the purpose of electricity generation.
As against the system and policy of other countries seeking to do away with diesel and gas cars using a certain date in mind, the new Costa Rican government would instead focus on the improvement of its metrics after which it would set its own targets according to Paola Vega who was responsible for the coordination of the manifesto which the winning party made use of.
During the campaign period, Alvarado Quesada made a promise to lead the modernization and electrification of an old diesel train with a view to leading the promotion of research and development of biofuels and hydrogen by leading the transformation of the government-owned petroleum refinery and also in signing a law which would ban the exploration and exploitation of gas and oil in the country.
As far as the ban on exploration is concerned, it should be a pretty straightforward affair as there is basically no oil industry established in the country, however, the transport sector will definitely pose to be a greater challenge. The transport sector of Costa Rica is reputed to be responsible for over half of the total CO2 emission of the country; this makes the sector paradoxically quite profitable for this ecotourism purpose.
A certain analysis recently carried out has also indicated that about twenty percent of the income of the state is derived from this sector of the economy, and most of the time from taxes gotten from fuel as well as the taxes derived from the sales of brand new cars as well as property tributes.
A recent statement by Vega who won an election to Congress indicated that there was a great need to effect a change in the institutional framework. According to him, the climate change issue requires policies that emanate from the presidential palace and not just from one ministry alone.
The previous year, the Congress of Costa Rica created and passed a certain incentive package with a view to promote the electric mobility. It is necessary to keep in mind that these incentives include decreased taxes for EV’s as well as more charging stations as well as a renewed commitment to ensure that some parts of public institutions ‘fleets to be free from oil.