The pedestrian day took birth within a strategy that would guide the country to remain carbon neutral. The National Environment Commission (NEC) launched the National Strategy and Action Plan for Low Carbon Development- a document on carbon neutral strategy coinciding with the National Environment Day on June 5.
The strategy comes after the Bhutan’s declaration to remain carbon neutral (titled Declaration of the Kingdom of Bhutan- the Land of Gross National Happiness to Save our Planet) at Convention of Parties (CoP 15) held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The NEC Secretary, Ugyen Chewang (PhD) said that the strategy looks across various sectors including transport, energy, industry and others. It also looks at short-term, medium term and long term (for 40 years) strategies. The long term strategy will guide how to keep the carbon emissions neutral (where we do not emit more what we can sequestrate) for 40 years, he added.
Current trend in GHG emissions in the country shows that emissions from Bhutan are estimated to be about a third of the sequestration capacity of its forests, as stated in the brochure for the report.
Emissions from agriculture and livestock are reported to be relatively constant depending on the population of livestock. The emission from these sector appear relatively higher compared to other countries as the emissions from other sectors are limited due to the share of hydroelectricity and a low level of industrialization.
With the growing economy, emissions from the energy sector including road transport, manufacturing and processing and waste is noted to be increasing steadily.
The future emission scenario through socio-economic projections and energy scenario (2020-2040) show that under the Business as usual (BAU) emissions do not exceed the estimated sequestration capacity. The Energy Efficient (EE) scenario adds assumption of improvements in energy efficiency in all major sectors and others including the Renewable Energy (RE) scenario and combined source of EE and RE too projects reduction in emissions.
Improvement of energy efficiency of energy intensive industries and explore use of international standards; consideration of carbon emission, environmental benefits and social benefits of industries; incorporation of energy efficiency standards in building codes and use of alternate technologies for home heating and lighting; completion of the National Forest Inventory to improve data on forest sequestration and implementation of strategies to conserve and enhance the forest sinks are some of the recommended priority actions.
The strategy was prepared by NEC with technical assistance from Danida to support the Carbon Neutral Declaration.