Nicaragua, A Central-American Clean Energy Leader

When the world takes stock of how every country is responding to energy needs and climate change concerns, there is often an understandable focus on more “influential” countries like the United States (U.S.), China, Russia, France etc. This focus is not without reason. It makes sense to focus on countries that have a lot of people, political influence in the world, and economies that can move world markets. This focus often leaves out smaller countries that, occasionally, are quietly making great progress on areas like renewable energy and dealing with climate change. Nicaragua is a great example.

Where?

First, a tiny bit of information about Nicaragua.

download nic.jpg

 

Nicaragua is a small country in Central America with a population of a little over 6 million people. Their current president is Daniel Ortega.

Clean Energy Use

Nicaragua uses a shockingly high amount of clean energy to power their country.

“Nicaragua has no oil and vigorously pursues green energy policies - more than 50% of its electricity is produced by geothermic, wind, solar, biomass and wave power.”[1]

While it is more than reasonable to have issues with the World Bank as an institution, they gave Nicaragua appropriate praises, saying in 2013 that the country is “a renewable energy paradise”.[2]

Paris

Why are Nicaragua and its surprising use of clean energy in the news now? Nicaragua has just indicated that it will sign the Paris Climate Accord. Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega said

“Scientists from more developed countries, scientists working at Nasa, European scientists, everyone agrees that we must stop the process that is leading to the destruction of the planet,”[3]

Nicaragua had previously refused to sign the deal symbolically.

“Mr. Ortega's government had previously argued that the accord did not put sufficient onus on wealthy countries to tackle climate change and was not ambitious enough in its objectives.”[4]

Nicaragua only refused because they thought the deal did not go far enough.

Bring in the smaller countries

Nicaragua signing this deal is a good sign. It is great news that smaller countries are willing to join and find solutions to climate change and its effects. While smaller nations that emit less should not bear the full responsibility for reducing world carbon emissions, the accomplishments of small countries like Nicaragua in fields like clean energy should be acknowledged and set a positive example for other nations.  

Endnotes [1-4]

 "US and Syria Left Alone on Climate Accord," BBC News, October 24, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41729297.