Racing for Carbon Neutrality: The next inter-state challenge?

In traditional international politics, the most prominent “races” between states have been “arms races”.  In turning to serious coping with the challenges of a warming world, we have the potential for a far more productive and healthy race:  a race to true carbon neutrality.  Several nations have already signed the entry forms …

Two nations, New Zealand and Costa Rica, are already in the race to achieve national carbon neutrality. 

In May, Costa Rica announced plans to be entirely carbon neutral by 2030.  This program includes plans for cleaning up polluters and compensating landowners for planting trees as part of carbon capture.

In September, New Zealand announced major plans for emissions reductions and a path toward carbon neutrality.

Now, both of these nations have real advantages in this path, with very significant renewable (mainly hydropower) resources. (And, for New Zealand, tremendous wind and ocean power resources.)  Thus, these two nations start the process ahead of the game, with much of their power already ‘clean’.

Combined, the two nations represent just 0.15% of world emissions, but they are a starting point.

New Zealand’s Clark said last month, “We are neither an economic giant nor a global superpower…. If we want to influence other countries and the responses they take in coming years and decades, then we must take action ourselves. Taking action is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”

Hat tip to Worldchanging for re-publishing the Worldwatch Eye on Earth piece.  Both Worldchanging and Eye on Earth are worth regular visits.


One response to “Racing for Carbon Neutrality: The next inter-state challenge?

  1. This is great news, however:

    I’m guessing NZ’s figures on carbon neutrality are disingenuous, because while they do not have any plans to bring any coal plants online, for instance, they export massive amounts of coal from the West Coast of the South Island to China. So, Kiwis can feel great about the “clean” power they produce, but they’re quite happy to piss in the deep in the deep end, as it were. I’m not sure what Cost Rica’s situation is.

    Point is: as admirable as these initiatives are, we should be vigilant in ensuring that governments aren’t using fuzzy math in touting their green goals.

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