Travel insights from Jenna Buege, associate editor of The Compass

5 Destinations Committed to Fighting Climate Change

As the earth’s average temperatures begin to rise and our weather patterns begin to change, countries around the world are stepping up to reduce their impact on global climate change. From new rules and regulations to ambitious eco-friendly blueprints, these five destinations are doing their part to help fight for a more sustainable future.

1. Costa Rica

Committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, Costa Rica is aggressively tackling climate change with an economy-wide plan to “decarbonize” the country. The plan will allow the country to continue growing economically while reducing greenhouse gases and will hopefully be a model for other nations. In addition, Costa Rica has made the swap to hydropower which accounts for 80% of the country’s emissions, most of the remaining 20% comes from other renewable sources. Another impressive factoid – Costa Rica has also reversed the 1960s and 1970s trend of deforestation and has more than doubled its forest cover.

2. The European Union

The European Union (the EU) and its 27 member states (including popular travel destinations like Italy, Germany, France and Spain) are undertaking hefty climate and energy goals[JB2] for the year 2020 including a 20% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, a switch to 20% renewable energy across the board and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. Beyond 2020, the EU already has goals set in place for 2030 by which time it hopes to have cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40%compared to 1990.

3. India

Despite having the second-largest population in the world and ranking third in greenhouse gas emissions, India is one of the few countries that’s on track to meet its climate pledge under the Paris agreement. Much of the country’s success is thanks to its National Solar Mission, an initiative put into place in 2010 that helped India convert 40% of its energy to non-fossil-fuel power back in 2018. The nation also ranks low when it comes to carbon pollution as the government transitions people away from large modes of transportation in exchange for three-wheelers and electric scooters.

4. Switzerland

Switzerland has been on the sustainability-radar since the 1970s when the country committed to reducing emissions for the sake of Mother Nature. In recent years, this European nation has implemented a number of policies, voluntary programs and market-based measures to appeal to lawmakers around the world. For example, Switzerland began charging companies a carbon tax (also referred to as the Levy) in the early 1990s where all of the revenue earned from the tax was then returned to citizens, put towards improving the efficiency of local buildings or donated towards research and development of clean technologies. 

5. Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced a carbon tax in 2018 alongside a Tweet that read, “Starting next spring, it’ll no longer be free to pollute in Canada.” Climate change was also dubbed a centerpiece of Canada’s 2020 budget plan, with focuses on lowering energy consumption and money to put towards relief of recent wildfires and flooding. However, Canada’s strides towards a greener future did not come without criticism as the nation did approve a multibillion dollar oil pipeline expansion in 2019. On the bright side, Trudeau did promise that the profits from the Trans Mountain pipeline would be used towards green projects.

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