Costa Rica, Never Old

A tapir in Braulio Carrillo national park, near San José. Costa Rica’s policy of paying citizens to protect and restore ecosystems is credited with reversing deforestation rates, which threaten the species. Photograph: Michiel van Noppen/2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The stories we use the title Really to highlight are among the heavies. Too much malfeasance, too often. Reading stories about Costa Rica‘s remarkable achievements related to the environment never gets old:

Billionaires, princes and prime ministers are among those keen to learn from the Central American country, which has long put nature at the heart of its policies

If there had been a popularity contest at Cop26, the Costa Rican president, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, would have been a clear winner. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeff Bezos, Boris Johnson and Prince William all wanted to speak with the leader of the tiny Central American country, eager to bask in its green glow.

The climate summit in Glasgow was, in effect, Costa Rica’s Super Bowl, another chance to show off its impressive environmental credentials. It is the only tropical country that has successfully halted and reversed deforestation, a commitment dozens of others made at Cop26 but are far from achieving.

Costa Rica, which celebrated its bicentenary in 2021, is aiming for total decarbonisation by 2050 – not just a net zero target – and is helping lead the world on efforts to protect 30% of the Earth by the end of this decade. From Christiana Figueres, who was head of the UN climate convention that achieved the Paris agreement in 2015, to Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, chief executive of the Global Environment Facility, Costa Ricans are routinely found in international leadership positions on the environment.

Alvarado was proud of Costa Rica’s record when he spoke with the Guardian in early 2021. But in his final interview at Cop26, after an exhausting schedule, Alvarado cautioned that his country’s example should not be taken as a blueprint for others to follow…

Read the whole story here.

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