Renewable-Energy Feat Masks Reality

Costa Rica now produces 98% of its national electricity demand through renewable energy. Policymakers and environmentalists can celebrate—for a moment. In truth, the country’s oil requirement is growing rapidly. It seems that Costa Ricans like to validate their new-found wealth by purchasing automobiles. The World Bank estimates that the country has 287 cars per 1,000 people. That figure is twice the number in neighboring Panama. Electric cars are virtually non-existent. The bottom line is that only about a quarter of Costa Rica’s total energy demand is provided through renewable energy. Critics suggest that the government should complement its heavy investment in wind farms and hydroelectric dams with greater focus on a ramshackle public-transportation system.

Learn more at The Guardian

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Image: In Costa Rica, Lake Arenal is major hydroelectric site. Credit: Emiddelkoop at Can Stock Photo Inc.

Beyond Caparra

Turn Right for Roseau

To the uninitiated, the Caribbean can be a mind-boggling array of small islands, with a few large ones in the mix.

Man with Cigar

Become a geographer. Florida and the Caribbean have the same economic heft as Brazil. Our regional set includes the perimeter economies of Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, as well as the Guiana Highlands.

Relative Economic Size

Comments on this blog focus on Florida and neighboring trade partners. By output, we rank the major islands:

1. Puerto Rico ($103 billion)

2. Cuba ($78 billion)

3. Dominican Republic ($64 billion)

4. Trinidad and Tobago ($29 billion)

5. Jamaica ($14 billion)

Florida dominates the region with state-wide GDP of about $770 billion. The largest perimeter economy is Colombia at $378 billion, followed by Venezuela.

Note: Ranking is based on GDP data for 2014 at market prices.

Source: World Bank, US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, Cranganore.