While the west battles itself over the reality of climate change, reasonable diesel tax and how to make their countries sustainable and eco-friendly, Costa Rica has broken their own renewable energy record.
The entirety of Costa Rica went 300 days using only renewable energy, beating their own 2015 record of of 299 days on renewable energy, according to The Independent.
The Central America country has also created 201 consecutive days of renewable energy starting May 1 of 2018 according to the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity. The country generates most of its electricity, around 99 percent, with a variety of methods.
Hydropower is the largest energy generator in Costa Rica, bringing in 78 percent of the country’s renewable energy. It’s followed by wind, geothermal energy, both at 10 percent, and biomass and solar at only 1 percent. The use of renewable energy could potentially eliminate the need to coal and natural gas as energy.
But there is a catch: the Costa Rica numbers only apply to electricity. Gas usage, for vehicles or heating purposes, were not surveyed. Dr Monica Araya, Costa Rican clean development adviser, said the 300 day achievement is “fantastic,” but explained what’s missing from the achievement.
“It hides a paradox, which is that nearly 70 per cent of all our energy consumption is oil,” she said.
The United States heavily relies on both coal and natural gas. The two fossil fuel sources make up two thirds of the country’s energy sources, according to The Independent. In 2016 the U.S. used renewable energy for about 15 percent of used energy. In 2017, the number grew to 18 percent.
While the U.S. does have a government funded renewable energy program, the country is not taking major steps forward to advance their environmental sustainability. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Change Agreement in June 2017, a global deal between 195 countries who promise to reduce contributions to global temperature changes gradually, according to NBC News.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency may also take steps to roll back the Obama Administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule under the Trump Administration, a rule which defined exactly which bodies of water, including rivers and swamplands, are under federal jurisdiction, according to The Hill. The proposal could potentially eliminate federal protection to select bodies of water under the Clean Water Act, a ‘70s regulation on pollution and waste in waterways.
Paris, however, has taken steps for fuel reduction by increasing the diesel fuel tax to about 60 percent throughout France, according to Le Parisean. The change, enacted by French President Emmanuel Macron, has sparked violent protests by the “Yellow Vests,” who symbolically wear yellow safety vests required to be in every French car. The protests entered their fourth weekend on Saturday.