Costa Rica plans to be a carbon neutral country by the time it marks its bicentennial in 2021.

And the Central American nation is not so far from that ambition – already 98 per cent of its electricity comes from renewables.

The carbon neutral goal was announced by Costa Rica’s president Luis Guillermo Solis yesterday at the opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Bordered by Panama and Nicaragua, Costa Rica has 99.4 per cent electricity access, with 98 per cent of that power coming from mainly hydropower but also geothermal, wind, solar and biomass. The only fossil fuel it utilises is diesel.

Solis said that Costa Rica’s decision to embrace renewables “was in no way improvised – it’s the constitutional right of the people to enjoy a clean environment”.

He said that in other countries “the negative effects of previous [thermal-focused] energy policies are too obvious to ignore – and these previous models are no longer viable”.

And he said that despite the widespread use of renewables, the government was stepping up its climate action. It’s 2030 energy plan “depicts an horizon more ambitious than we have ever had before” which intends to integrate its electricity and transportation sectors.