30% by 2030: Costa Rica's environmental plan receives U.S. endorsement

The United States indicated its support on Wednesday.

Costa Rica’s president, Carlos Alvarado, adamantly believes that sound environmental policy can provide economic benefits. In fact, that was the topic of one of our very first Costa Rica Daily stories, all the way back in November.

Costa Rica’s conservation goals go well beyond its own borders. In January, the country launched the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, which Costa Rica leads alongside France and the United Kingdom. Its goal? To conserve 30% of earth’s land and oceans by 2030.

Currently, the HAC says, only about 15% of the world’s land and 7% of the oceans are protected. 

“Restoring nature is possible, achievable and necessary,” the proposal reads. “But it will take a global effort from all nations.”

Some 50 countries signed onto the “30x30” commitment during the One Planet Summitt for biodiversity earlier this year. Those nations harbor 30% of global terrestrial biodiversity and 28% of ocean biodiversity, the HAC says.

On Wednesday, the coalition added a significant new supporter as the United States indicated it will also pursue the 30x30 goals.

“The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis,” an Executive Order issued by Joe Biden reads. “We have a narrow moment to pursue action at home and abroad in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of that crisis.”

Costa Rica, as you’d expect, celebrated the development, which followed the change in U.S. leadership:

The HAC frequently cites a McKinsey report which concludes that, in addition to environmental considerations, “doubling nature conservation could create or safeguard 27 million to 33 million jobs and $290 billion to $470 billion in GDP.”

Critics of the HAC (rightfully) note that many of the signatory countries aren’t even meeting their Paris Agreement responsibilities, and that the coalition has nice-sounding goals without detailed plans on how to achieve them.

HAC countries say they’ll work out the details when they meet again later this year at the Convention for Biological Diversity. (It’s tentatively scheduled for May.)

When they do, the U.S. may occupy a position of leadership at that table.

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