Costa Rica - National planning on short-lived climate pollutants

CCAC Funded
Implementing partners

Despite their small contribution to global emissions, Costa Rica is taking ambitious action to address climate change and air pollution challenges simultaneously in view of their development imperatives. 

In 2018, the Ministry of Environment and Energy along with the National Meteorological Institute began working with the Coalition's SNAP initiative to integrate short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) mitigation actions into existing national planning processes, such as the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. Efforts are expected to generate direct in-country benefits to health and the economy, while also working toward the country’s international climate commitments.  

Video: Vice Minister of Energy, Rolando Castro, on Costa Rica's work with the Climate & Clean Air Coalition to strengthen national capacity for short-lived climate pollutant mitigation.


Our SNAP Initiative is providing technical assistance and funding to Costa Rica to undertake a national planning process on short-lived climate pollutants and implement resulting mitigation measures. This work aims to: 

  • Strengthen coordination and action
  • Identify major emission sources, their likely evolution and mitigation potential 
  • Assess the co-benefits of action 
  • Prioritise relevant mitigation measures at the national scale and identify ways to promote and implement them 
  • Incorporate short-lived climate pollutants into existing plans and activities where they are not currently considered 
  • Track progress

What we're doing

Phase I – National SLCP Planning – Ongoing   

In 2017, Costa Rica expressed interest in receiving support for the development of a black carbon emission inventory and to undertake an analysis of the emission reduction potential of relevant mitigation measures. This support was provided through the Coalition's Solution Centre, resulting in the report Short-Lived Climate Pollutants in Costa Rica: A Mitigation Measures Study, published in 2018. 

The Ministry of Environment and Energy requested support from the SNAP initiative for a second phase of this project to develop national planning capacity for SLCP mitigation, communicate the results of the study, and foster political engagement to take action. Costa Rica already has an ambitious climate change strategy, with their decarbonisation plan outlining a vision for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The aim of the SNAP initiative project was to identify how these ambitious decarbonisation goals could be achieved by maximising the benefits through SLCP and air pollution reductions.  

The SNAP Initiative recruited a national policy expert and a technical expert to undertake activities at the national level and work closely with the Ministry of Environment and Energy as well as the National Meteorology Institute (IMN). Following the establishment of this national team, a workshop was held in San José by the SNAP Initiative and SEI to build technical mitigation analysis capacity, to identify priority mitigation sectors including transport and waste, and to assess the policy and institutional context in Costa Rica.

A roadmap was developed in collaboration with relevant government and sectoral stakeholders. The following activities are were identified:  

  • Setting up national planning processes including the architecture for a National Plan to Reduce SLCPs and engaging relevant stakeholders to develop work  
  • Raising awareness of SLCPs through the development of a communication strategy and materials 
  • Assessing SLCPS in the national context including a baseline SLCP assessment, main emission sources, a stocktaking of institutional, legal frameworks, and current initiatives related to SLCP strategies  
  • Identifying opportunities to reduce SLCPs and estimate benefits of emission reductions including an assessment of co-benefits to implementing mitigation measures  
  • Developing a national plan with priorities for SLCP abatement including identifying implementation pathways, collecting feedback from relevant stakeholders on plans and priorities for mitigation  
  • Mainstreaming the SLCP planning process in national processes and structures, embedding SLCPs into ministerial or sectoral plans 

Why we're doing this work

Costa Rica is increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, from flooding, to desertification and biodiversity loss. At the same time, air pollution in urban areas such as the capital city of San José continues to exceed guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), posing a serious health threat to a population of over 5 million people. These harmful emissions of air pollutants and short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as black carbon are derived primarily from sectors such as transportation, industry, and waste.

Project updates