Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Live in Costa Rica and live a longer (and happier) life

In one of our previous posts we did mention that Costa Rica has the longest life expectancy in the Western Hemisphere and that within Costa Rica people living on the Nicoya Peninsula live the longest of all.

Recently Oprah Winfrey (herself an owner of extensive properties in Costa Rica) covered this on her show.

Oprah interviewed Dan Buettner, a freelance writer for National Geographic who spent seven years researching his book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest.

Dan discovered that worldwide there are four Blue Zones where people live to 100 or more in great numbers - The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California, USA; Okinawa, Japan.

But living to 100 may sound like a mixed blessing but not in these blue zones because there people live to 100 with strength, vitality and happiness.

Their secret, well a combination of factors, diet, exercise, lifestyle, low stress.

The catch phrase in Costa Rica and used as an slogan by the Costa Rican Government is Pura Vida, litetally translated as Pure Life.

So enjoy Costa Rica, enjoy La Pura Vida and live longer.

Land registration is getting closer - Price Increase Coming

Our premier project Finca Di Pacifico Dos is on track to commence the land registration and transfer of title process and in line with other property prices in Costa Rica we are delighted to announce that our prices are rising accordingly:

The revised prices for Finca Di Pacifico Dos are as follows:
Euro per M2 Grass PlotsTeak PlotsSeaview Plots
Current Price5.806.457.68
Price March 31st '097.378.629.85
Price June 30th '09***9.7711.0212.25

***Note: The is the proposed price as the land becomes registered, any remaining registered land will move to this price level immediately upon registration.

If you would like to hear more about this price rise just click on the short (3 minutes) presentation below


Investors who purchased at launch have seen the value of their investment rise by 112% after these price rises

If you would like to take advantage of the current prices why not contact your investment advisor by clicking here or give us a call on +353 1 272 4184

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Costa Rican Banana Industry to achieve Carbon Neutrality in 4 years

Costa Rica recently announced its intention to be carbon neutral as a nation by 2021 when it celebrates the 200th anniversary of its independance, but the Costa Rican banana industry intends to beat that and be carbon neutral in just 4 years.

This is the first banana industry in the world to put in place a coherent and holistic environmental strategy in order to offset its carbon dioxide emissions.

Corbana, the Costa Rican banana producers’ association, has recently submitted to Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy the ‘Banana Industry Action Plan against Climate Change’, which aims at cutting its net greenhouse gasses emissions to zero by 2012.

The Costa Rica Banana Industry Action Plan against Climate Change will first calculate the overall level and source of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses produced by the industry in order to properly advise individual banana farms on what steps and measures they must take to offset them.

Once the emissions assessment is finalized, Corbana and the Banana Environment Commission will encourage producers to adopt a number of concrete measures, namely: Creating more carbon sinks through reforestation programmes; Cutting back in the use of fossil fuels and fertilisers; Switching to biofuels and biodegradable plastics; Reducing the use of traditional pesticides and fertilisers through the application of biopesticides and biofertilisers; Implementing energy-saving programmes.

Furthermore an educational programme will be implemented, to raise awareness amongst banana workers of the importance of combating climate change through CO2 emissions reduction; and a manual of good environmental practices will be developed to reinforce this programme.

While Costa Rica makes up only 0.03% of the world’s landmass, it holds 5% of the world’s biodiversity. That is why the Costa Rica banana industry is a leader in the environmental field. For over 15 years, most of Costa Rica’s banana farms have been carrying out long-term reforestation projects in their plantations. For example, the banana industry’s current contribution to conservation and reforestation is 6,305 hectares of replanted forests, 14.4% of the land used for banana plantations. More importantly, banana plantations only use less than 1% of the country’s territory.

Costa Rica is an international leader on green issues, with protected areas like national parks and biological reserves covering more than a quarter of its territory. It is the first tropical nation to reverse deforestation. Thanks to conservation and replanting, its forest cover has increased from 21 percent in 1986 to 51 percent today. The country also generates 78 percent of its energy with hydroelectric power and another 18 percent by wind or geothermal power. The next step is to cut emissions from transport, farming, and industry.

To read the full story on Inside Costa Rica, click here

Costa Rica takes a leading role in the development of clean energy biofuels

The Costa Rica Seed Company has achieved great success in 2008 and has established itself as Jatropha Biofuel leaders in North and Central America. The 80 hectare R &D Jatropha Planatation has captured world wide attention, recognized as one of if not the most advanced plantation in the Americas.

They have also identified one of the most potent strain of Jatropha seed known, with 42% oil content.

Goldman Sachs recently cited Jatropha curcas as one of the best candidates for future biodiesel production. Many alternative Bio Diesel fuels have been shown to improve exhaust emissions than traditional Diesel fuel.

Jatropha Bio diesel holds promise as fuel alternatives in diesel engine development continues. Research has shown that jatropha bio diesel properties are of the highest grade. Improves engine performance, is very similar to diesel fossil fuel.

Bio Diesel is non toxic, bio degradable and a renewable fuel. Bio diesel performs better than Petroleum diesel, reduces serious air pollutants such as particulates, carbon monoxides, hydrocarbons and air toxins. Mutagencity studies show that bio diesel dramatically reduces potential risk of cancer and birth defects. Biodiesel is about 5% to 8% less energy dense than petroleum diesel, but has greater lubrication properties and higher combustion rate which is leading overall to a fuel efficiency of approximately 2% higher than petroleum diesel.

All very good news for Bio Diesel but critics have taken issue with biofuels, which they say could drive expanded deforestation, or would compete with food commodities, raising food prices across the board — particularly for poor families and poor communities.

Supporters of bio-fuels say that they are committed to using sustainable biofuels that do not threaten food supplies for land or water as part of their alternative fuel tests.

Some in the aviation industry say they could one day be flying the biggest jets across the planet without contributing to climate change — using biofuels. A major part of the industry’s future carbon emissions reduction plans rely on the ability for aircraft to shift towards biofuels.

Air New Zealand has recently carried out a test flight using a blend of jatropha fuel and jet fuel.

The test was a success and the engine powered by the fuel mix performed well.

Using jatropha-based fuel still emits carbon dioxide, but the gas is typically recycled in the growing of the feedstock, so there is ostensibly no additional CO2 added to the atmosphere.

One of the vast advantages of biodiesel is the fact that it can be used in existing diesel engines without modification and can be blended in at any ratio with petroleum diesel.

Costa Rica continues on its eco-friendly track

Nevada US based Ormat Technologies (NYSE: ORA) is preparing to start its second geothermal project in Costa Rica after being chosen for a $65 million contract with Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica.

Ormat plans to build, test and commission the Las Pailas Geothermal Plant, which is planned for construction in Las Pailas Field, Costa Rica, for the country's national electricity and telecommunications company, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE). Under the agreement, Ormat is expected to complete the plant in 18 months.

Ormat says the new plant will use water-cooled condensers and its proprietary high-performance, high-efficiency organic turbine.

Ormat previously built an 18-megawatt binary geothermal power station for ICE in 2004.

You can read the full story here

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Is innovation the key to climate change?

The Obama administration has very ambitious plans for confronting climate change: billions of dollars targeted toward energy and climate.

But a sobering analysis shows even the most ambitious aspirations fall far short of what's needed. And that has led some people to suggest that the world needs to take a whole new approach to climate change.

First, the challenge is immense. President Obama has set a goal of slashing our greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent between now and the middle of the century. That means phasing out most fossil fuels or going to the vast expense of burying carbon dioxide underground.

An Effective Goal?

Robert Corell at the Heinz Center in Washington, D.C. asks a simple question: What if the United States is able to meet that goal? And what if Europe meets it, too? Corell notes that China isn't planning to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, but it does plan to constrain their growth.

Corell uses a simple laptop computer program, developed by MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, to get quick answers to scenarios like this.

And here's the bad news: Even if the G-8 industrialized nations and developing nations such as China and India all met their climate goals, the planet still warms.

So, what, then would it take to solve the problem?

5 Percent Reduction

One way to achieve this level would be to get the eight leading industrialized countries — as well as China, India, Mexico and South America — to all adopt the same ambitious target.

"And here's what you find: It takes about a 5 percent reduction [by all these nations] per year," Corell says, starting next year and achieving those enormous cuts year after year after year.
"Five percent per year is huge," he says.

"This is sort of a wake-up call mechanism," Corell says. People need to realize, "Oh, this is tougher than I thought. And I probably have to think about it differently."

Finding A Different Path

One person pushing for an intellectual paradigm shift is Dan Sarewitz of Arizona State University. It's his view that our only hope is to invent our way out of the problem.

Sarewitz runs an outfit called the Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes based at Arizona State University. And he's trying to figure out a better way to change the way the world uses energy.

Using energy "is really the metabolism of modern industrial society," he says. "And changing that system is not about replacing a few technologies or advancing our level of efficiency along certain fronts."

It means creating a whole new basis for the global economy. Sarewitz is skeptical that politicians can deliberately manage a transformation of that scale, either through legislation or through climate treaties. He says, for starters, measures that will ultimately force everyone to pay more for energy are doomed both economically and politically.

"Politically, what you're asking people to do is to pay a huge upfront cost for benefits many decades down the road that they can't even anticipate or predict. And that is politically an extremely difficult sort of situation to manage," Sarewitz says.

It's harder still, considering that Americans rank global warming at the bottom of their worry list, according to a January poll by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

History Lessons

Despite this gloomy perspective, Sarewitz isn't a naysayer or a cynic. But he has been trying to think of another way to deal with climate change. To do that, he's looked back in history to see how we managed other major transformations.

One example is how America transformed agriculture over the past century. The United States government created a highly successful, century-long effort to make food more abundant and affordable. "And it didn't do so by setting any particular target or timetable. It did so by investing in research and development — and very importantly, in institutions," Sarewitz says.

For example, agricultural extension programs brought together researchers to tackle the big problems, and farmers to put the solutions to work quickly. The key to it all was speeding up innovation. And the good news is none of this required an ugly political or public debate. That's the model Sarewitz would like to use for climate change.

"The idea really is to take the political heat off of climate change and instead move this into the realm of policy wisdom," he says, "where many many small decisions made across many agencies, many types of policies, many domains, set the conditions for moving in the right direction without demanding that people accept that this is the most important problem in the world."

Sarewitz is now hard at work trying to identify what institutions we need to drive that transformation in the coming decades. The ultimate goal is to make renewable energy about as cheap as fossil fuels. Otherwise, there's little hope that the nations of the world will agree to tackle climate change. Sarewitz says he knows the Obama administration won't abandon its current path to craft climate laws and a treaty.

"But there's no reason they can't at the same time… understand that the real action is going to be on the innovation front," Sarewitz says.

And, he adds, there's no time to lose.

You can read the excellent full article by Richard Harris here

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Child Care Costa Rica

Our preferred charity in Costa Rica is Child Care Costa Rica. This charity was set up and is administered by our Costa Rican development company and a portion of the profit from each of our developments goes to support this very worthy charity.

Child Care Costa Rica provides support for single parent families by providing accomodation and other monetary support as required.

The charity hopes to support up to 200 families and all funds received by the charity go directly to the families without administrative overheads.

In addition the charity also helps to support other childrens projects and provides sports facilities for a number of schools throughout Costa Rica.

A medical evacuation support program is also provided with use of a private plane to evacuate sick or injured people from remote areas of Costa Rica to the nearest suitable mediacal facilities.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Investment in Green Growth Industries Will Help Avoid a Severe Recession

The UN recommended in October 2008 that Governments use the global financial crises to restructure their financial systems to support green growth industries and researchers at Deutsche Bank's Asset Management(DeAM) Division agree.

Deutsche Bank has published a whitepaper arguing that increased spending on green infrastructure can provide enough economic stimulus to avoid a severe recession.

"The current crisis is making the necessity of tackling climate change an opportunity to stimulate growth through investment opportunities," says Mark Fulton, DeAM's global head of climate change investment research. "Severe though it is, the current financial situation can eventually be fixed, and should not be used as an excuse for inaction."

The paper states the climate change sector is well-suited for public equity markets and particularly, private markets such as venture capital, private equity, infrastructure, and timberland.

"Governments have before them a historic opportunity to 'climate proof' their economies as they upgrade infrastructure as a core response to any economic downturn," according to Fulton."Infrastructure stimulus can be tied directly to climate-sensitive sectors such as power grids, water, buildings, and public transport, which present a vast field for the creation of new technologies and jobs."

The whitepaper covers the current status of the climate change sector and how it relates to government infrastructure, in two parts. Part I examines the climate change investment universe. The paper says encouraging investment in renewable energy is a key focus, while energy efficiency technologies are also highly desirable in economies facing recession.

Part II examines how regulation interacts with the underlying dynamics of technology costs and energy prices. It argues how government regulation, including carbon pricing, traditional mandates, subsidies, and incentives, is a major driver of investment opportunities in climate change.

Another reason for companies to invest in green now? The sector continues to grow despite the slowing global economy. According to new figures from bank HSBC, companies in the climate-mitigation business now generate $300 billion in revenues each year.

To download a copy of the whitepaper, "Investing in Climate Change 2009 -- Necessity and Opportunity in Turbulent Times", click here.

Read original article

Monday, February 2, 2009

Investment up 11% for Costa Rica in 2008

Thirty new companies were established in the services, manufacturing, and medical device sectors in Costa Rica, generating an investment of $428.6 million and creating 6,300 new jobs in 2008.

Gabriela Llobet, manager of the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), a group responsible for attracting investment to the country warned that 2009 poses ever-increasing challenges to Costa Rica, as other countries try to become more competitive during the global economic crisis.

Llobet said that the crisis will inevitably have an impact in Costa Rica, but there are still promising signs for 2009.

The year has already begun with the announcement of new investments from medical device companies St. Jude Medical and BeamOne. Both companies will open new plants in the Coyol Free Trade Zone, in the Alajuela province.

St. Jude Medical, a U.S.-based multinational firm, will use the new plant to expand its production of heart valves. The $40 million investment will generate 500 jobs once the plant is in operation.

BeamOne, also a U.S. firm, recently opened its electron beam sterilization plant here.

The digital production company avVenta also announced that it would invest $20 million on technology improvements and training for its 500 employees. The company expects to employ 2,000 people by next year.

The number of new companies formed in 2008 was 11 percent higher than the previous year, and many of these businesses are in new sub-sectors. This corresponds with CINDE’s goals of promoting new markets in Costa Rica, Llobet said.

To read the full story, with listings of the sectors showing the most growth, by Grettel Prendas ( of the The Central America Times just click here.

US Chooses Costa Rica as the headquarters of its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters in Latin America.

The USA has chosen Costa Rica to locate the headquarters for the Food and Drug Administration in Latin America, because of its strategic location in the middle of the continent and also because of the excellent relations that already exist between the two countries.

Andrew von Eschenbach, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that on his first visit to the Costa Rican capital, he was impressed by the infrastructure of the health care industry and by the quality of the food.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, who also visited San Jose for the official opening, emphasized the importance of the two countries joining forces to guarantee food safety, clarifying that it's not simply a matter of the U.S. limiting access, but a requirement of globalization.

Leavitt said that FDA is not just opening a new office, but rather signaling a new era of change in the country’s strategy to address the demands of world trade. The aim is to monitor a product from the time it is registered until it is exported. "We’re at a critical moment in our trade relationship in that we must guarantee that products are safe to enter," Leavitt stressed, also confirming that, for the United States, Costa Rica is the most important trading partner in the region.

Within three months, the office will open with a six-person staff, and together with the free trade agreement that is now in effect with the United States, exports to Costa Rica’s main trading partner are expected to rise.

To read the full article by Grettel Prendas of the The Central America Times ( please click here.