Could Costa Rica become the first decarbonized country in the world? That’s one of the goals of new president Carlos Alvarado. The Independent reported during his inauguration that he said, “We have the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies.”

Costa Rica politician and journalist Carlos Alvarado in San Jose

38-year-old Alvarado, a former journalist, rode a hydrogen-electric bus to his inauguration ceremony, where he spoke of plans to ban fossil fuels in the Central American country. Alvarado said, “Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first.” Thousands of people attended the ceremony.

Related: Costa Rica celebrates 113 days of 100% renewable energy (and counting)

The Independent reported Alvarado said last month that Costa Rica would start carrying out a plan to stop the use of fossil fuels in transportation by 2021, which marks the 200th year of the country’s independence. Alvarado said in a victory speech, “When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate…that we’ve removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation.”

Flag of Costa Rica in front of the San Jose National Theater

The country generates over 99 percent of its electricity via renewable sources, The Independent said. But experts said rapidly reaching zero carbon transport could be tricky. Vehicle and Machinery Importers Association president Oscar Echeverría told The Independent, “If there’s no previous infrastructure, competence, affordable prices, and waste management we’d be leading this process to failure. We need to be careful.”

University of California, Berkeley energy researcher Jose Daniel Lara told The Independent it may be unrealistic to fully cut out fossil fuels in a few years, but the plan could pave the way for speedier action, saying, “A proposal like this one must be seen by its rhetoric value and not by its technical precision.”

Via The Independent

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