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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020296

Carbon Neutral by 2021: The Past and Present of Costa Rica’s Unusual Political Tradition

Sociology Department and Environmental Studies Program, Connecticut College, New London, CT 06320, USA
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract

Costa Rica has pledged to become the first nation to become carbon neutral. This event raises the important question of how to understand this contemporary form of climate politics, given that Costa Rica has made an almost negligible contribution to the problem of global climate change. To understand this pledge, a case study spanning about 200 years situates the pledge within the country’s unique historical profile. An analysis of interview data, archival research, and secondary data reveals that the pledge is the latest instance in Costa Rica’s unusual political tradition. This political tradition dates back to the area’s experience as a Spanish colony and as a newly independent nation. Several events, including the abolition of the army, the work on green development, and being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize were all foundational in forming Costa Rica’s tradition as a place that leads by example and stands for peace and protection of nature. The carbon neutral pledge extends the political tradition that has been established through these earlier events. This case highlights the importance of understanding contemporary environmental politics through an analysis of long-term, historical data. View Full-Text
Keywords: Costa Rica; mitigation; carbon neutral; political tradition; environment; army; peace; case study Costa Rica; mitigation; carbon neutral; political tradition; environment; army; peace; case study
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Flagg, J.A. Carbon Neutral by 2021: The Past and Present of Costa Rica’s Unusual Political Tradition. Sustainability 2018, 10, 296.

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