Bill would create coordinating agency to address climate change

A proposed bill would set up two new government bodies to set policy to address climate change. The bill, No. 18860, still is in the Comisión Permanente Especial de Ambiente. It was introduced in August.

A key element of the bill is the creation of a Comisión Nacional de Cambio Climático and a related Consejo Nacional de Cambio Climático. The bulk of the members would be from government agencies that already have committees involved in this subject.

Global average temperature is one of the most-cited indicators of global climate change, and shows an increase of approximately 1.4 degrees F since the early 20th century, according to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration which now measures surface temperature by satellite.

The summary of the bill notes that Costa Rica has been working since 1970 to restore the forests and that by 2010 there were about 52.4 percent of the land area in trees. It also notes that the country has promised to reach carbon neutrality by 2021.

The country is expecting to invest $7.8 billion or about 10 percent of its 2009 gross internal product in various methods of mitigation of greenhouse gases.

The country already has established a carbon fund to reduce emissions, and also the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía is setting up a voluntary carbon trading scheme.

The commission and consejo would create a structure to oversee all this, said the summary. They also would have the role of making sure that agencies, private firms and individuals act in accordance with international agreements into which the country may enter, said the bill. The two agencies also would oversee and administer the nation’s climate plan.

There are also educational roles and a requirement to coordinate public and private climate efforts.

The bill also provides incentives for the importation of what it calls clean vehicles.

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