Himachal to be carbon neutral by 2020

Feb 03, 2012 11:44 | Poltics

To set up State Centre on Climate Change

Himachal Pradesh is poised to become carbon neutral by the year 2020 by undertaking "carbon smart growth", asserted Chief Minister Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal while speaking at the 12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit organised by The Energy and Resource Institute on "Protecting the Global Commons; 20 years Post Rio" at New Delhi today. He said that Himachal would be first state in the country to become carbon neutral by 2020.

He said that state govt has inventorized Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission for assessing the carbon footprints and said that the carbon footprint per capita in Himachal Pradesh has been assessed at 1.4 tonne per capita in comparison to national average of 1.57 tonnes per capita. He said that state govt has signed ERPA MoU with World Bank for harnessing carbon credits to generate carbon Revenues amounting to Rs 20 crores for  20 years under "Bio-Carbon Projects " in 177 gram panchayats in 4000 hectare land in 10 districts of the state. He advocated the market based instrument "Payment for Eco-system Services" for maintenance, conservation and expansion of pristine Himalayan flora and fauna and pleaded for dedicated funds and support by developed nations to phase out obsolete technologies and for R& D activities for new technologies both in climate change and environment infrastructure. Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal said that state govt has prepared Environment Master Plan for sectoral guidelines in environmental protection and added that State Government would launch "State Centre on Climate Change" shortly in Shimla which would serve as centre of excellence for co-ordinating research on climate change. He said the state govt has created Environment Fund through voluntary contribution from individuals and organisations for environment protection  and stressed the need for more incentives and resources for financing mitigation and adaption strategies.

Chief Minister announced that Government had set up "Virtual Centre" of "State Centre for Science, Learning & Creativity" which will be dedicated to the state on 10th February next in presence of Dr R.K. Pachauri, Director General TERI. He said that all the Government departments have been asked to carry out their energy and environment audits and introspect on action and policies for mitigation and adaption measures.

Prof Dhumal said that State Government had started a mission called "Community Led Assessment, Awareness, Advocacy & Action Programme' (CLAP) for environment protection and carbon neutrality at panchayat level under which initially 1000 panchayats will be covered in the State. He said that so far around 250 panchayats have been covered including the remotest Lahaul Spiti areas of Himachal Pradesh.

He said that State Government has constituted "State Level Governing Council" and "Executive Council on Climate Change" to oversee and coordinate the activities on climate change in the State. He told that series of meetings and seminars had been organised on climate changes for legislatures, Government departments, industry and media to raise awareness and sensitivity on the environmental issues in the state.



Chief Minister said that State Government has promoted the use of non-conventional energy sources for space heating and discourage use of charcoal, coal, fossil fuels etc to reduce GHG emission and stated that State Government has formulated Organic Farming Policy, 2011 to phase out the excessive use of chemical fertilizers and promote organic farming in the state. He said that State Government was strengthening "Appropriate Technology Centre" for promoting green building culture in the state and added that State Government is working for expansion of rail and ropeways network in the State to check pollution and GHG emission .He told that State Government has signed MOU with GAIL for supply of pipe gas for fuel requirements of local residents and added that Government is promoting environmental friendly solar passive technologies and rain water harvesting system in the State.