climate change current affairs environment politics

The world’s first carbon neutral countries

While most of us dither about on climate change, setting targets that hardly trouble the double figures, six countries have announced that they are to go carbon-neutral. Here’s the list:

  • Costa Rica
  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • New Zealand
  • Monaco
  • The Maldives

They’ve all done it at different points over the last couple of years, and have different timetables, The Maldives announcing it this weekend. “The Maldives is a small country with only 300,000 people” said President Moosa of the island nation. “It will be very acheivable.”

A small population is a common factor among these countries, although Norway and New Zealand will have a slightly bigger task on their hands. That makes them perfect fore-runners and test beds for new technologies and planning schemes.

The Maldives aims for carbon neutral status in just ten years, mainly through renewable energy. New Zealand has a target of 2025, and is trialling an emissions trading scheme. Norway intends to buy credits, which is cheating, and of course exports oil and natural gas, so it’s in a somewhat compromised position. Costa Rica has made it into a kind of game. They were the fifth to announce their plan, but are determined to get there first, their Environment and Energy minister describing it as a ‘carbon-neutral World Cup’.

Whatever their motivations, the rest of the world should be watching these six pioneers very carefully.

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