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Activists push Costa Rica to ban oil and gas exploitation forever

Personalities from the entertainment world and international diplomats pressured the Legislative Assembly to pass a law that would permanently ban the exploitation of fossil fuels in Costa Rica.

Mark Ruffalo, who portrays the Hulk in the Marvel universe, and Jane Fonda, a movie icon in the 1970s and 1980s, joined a lobbying movement started by Tica Christiana Figueres — one of the main figures of the Paris Agreement — to make her country one of the first in the world to be declared a territory free of oil and gas exploration and exploitation.

“I support Christiana’s call and will be counting on the Costa Rican Congress to endorse a law to permanently ban oil and gas exploration,” Ruffalo said.

“Costa Rica is ready to send a powerful message to the world, by pushing to declare the country permanently free of gas and oil exploration and exploitation. I urge the country´s lawmakers to make the decision and take this important step,” said Fonda, a fervent environmental activist.

The project is currently stuck in the legislative plenary and will be discussed again after it failed to receive the necessary votes to advance to an environment commission, where it could have been modified and possibly approved.

Figueres, a diplomat with vast experience in United Nations environmental entities and the daughter and sister of former Costa Rican presidents, made a publication last week on Twitter, which led to a chain reaction.

“We have been leaders in environmental matters for decades (…) and with the passage of the law we would be a global example of success in one of the most challenging issues of our time, leaving fossil fuels behind,” she explained.

Other names that supported the project were actress and singer Nancy Sinatra; the president of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Faith Birol; and the global leader of Climate and Energy of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Manuel Pulgar Vidal.

Costa Rica has a goal to become a 100% carbon neutral country by 2050 through its National Decarbonization Plan.

In support of this strategy, it already has a law that abolished open-pit mining and a temporary decree — in force until the middle of this century — to prohibit the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas.

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