With an ambitious goal of becoming a carbon neutral country by the year 2021, Costa Rica is a global leader in transformative low-carbon growth. The Estrategia Nacional de Cambio Climático (ENCC)—National Climate Change Strategy—published in 2008 is a roadmap for achieving this goal.

Through the EC-LEDS program, Costa Rica and the United States are working together in the transport and agriculture sectors to improve data, support policies, and facilitate decision-making and actions that have the greatest impact in making a substantial difference in the country's already successful low emission path.

Environmental/Economic Data

Pie chart image entitled, "Costa Rica GDP by Sector (2015)," showing: Agriculture 6%, Industy 19%, and Services 75%.

Top Three GHG Emitting Sectors (2012)

  1. Energy
  2. Agriculture
  3. Waste

Source: World Resources Institute 

GDP Average Annual Growth Rate (%)

  • 10-year (2006-2015): 4.3% per year
  • 5-year (2011-2015): 3.9% per year

Source: World Bank

GHG Emission Growth (%)

  • 20-year (1993-2012): 29.9%
  • 5-year (2008-2012): -5.1%

Source: World Resources Institute  

Forested Area (% of total land area)

  • 2015: 54.0%

Source: World Bank

Renewable Energy Contribution to Electricity Generation (%)

EC-LEDS Activities

Accomplishments and Progress

Reducing Emissions from the Transport Sector. U.S. transportation experts have developed a work plan to support a low emissions transport sector in Costa Rica. The plan restricts imports of secondhand vehicles, sets emissions standards for new buses, explores emission taxes during annual vehicle registration, and increases awareness of emission controls and diesel technologies. These actions will help Costa Rica transform its transport sector and lead to cleaner, more sustainable modes of travel throughout the country. – Ongoing

Improving Livestock Management. The EC-LEDS program is partnering with Costa Rican agricultural experts to collect, monitor, and analyze greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data from dairy operations. This approach was developed hand-in-hand with the private sector and demonstrated with the country’s largest dairy producer, and now serves as a model for promoting cost effective, low emission livestock management practices throughout the country. – Ongoing

Indicators for Monitoring Livestock Sector Emissions Adopted. With EC-LEDS program support, the cattle sector adopted a set of indicators to monitor GHG emissions across the country. This pilot program, combined with the emissions profile, is critical for establishing the baseline and setting up the monitoring, reporting, and verification system that will be utilized in tracking the implementation of a country-level nationally appropriate mitigation action (NAMA) for the cattle sector. – 2014

Channels for Sharing Low Emission Livestock Management Strategies Established. The EC-LEDS program and Costa Rican agricultural experts collaborated to identify and demonstrate cost-effective strategies—such as manure management, feeding strategies, and land-use practices—to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in Costa Rica's livestock sector. The team established a cattle low emission working group, involved key public and private sector stakeholders, and developed a website in Spanish to support this effort. – 2013

Additional Resources