The strategy comes at a time when Bhutan’s emissions are increasing year after year. According to NEC, by 2040 Bhutan’s emission level is estimated to touch 4.7mn, double than that of 2010 level.
Bolstering Bhutan’s commitment to stay carbon neutral for all times to come, the National Environment Commission (NEC) launched the National Strategy and Action Plan for Low Carbon Development.
This strategic action plan that analyzed various scenarios and development paths from 2005 till 2040 presents a number of short and medium term interventions to achieve sustainable economic development through green growth.
Speaking to Business Bhutan, the NEC Secretary, Dr. UgyenTshewang, said that the long term national strategy and short term action plan for low carbon development are in line with the government’s national environmental mandates.
He said the strategy looks at different sectors including transport, energy, and industry. This will help in ensuring national emissions of greenhouse gases are less than the national sequestration capacity.
According to the second National Green House Gas (GHG) inventory, in 2009 Bhutan’s carbon emission was around 2.1mn tons, about one third of the estimated sequestration capacity of 6.3m tons. Emission from agriculture is a major source accounting for half of the total emissions while emissions from energy and industry account for a quarter each.
“Bhutan is comfortable when it comes to remaining carbon neutral. We have a negative carbon sink at the moment,” said Dr. UgyenTshewang.
The NEC has also recommended several priority actions for Bhutan to remain carbon neutral. It also recommended the government to improve energy efficiency of energy intensive industries and explore the use of international standards.
Priority actions include taking into consideration carbon emission, environmental benefits and social benefits while licensing of industries, provide appropriate incentives and disincentives such as tax measures for reducing import and use of vehicles and consumption of petroleum in transport.
The strategy notes that vehicle stock in the country should be improved by increasing share of electric cars, promotion of mass transport, and encouraging alternative modes of transport such as ropeways, cycling, and walking, among others.
Other priority actions include incorporation of energy efficiency standards in building codes and use of alternate technologies for home heating and lighting and improving the energy mix with higher share of renewable energy sources.
The strategy comes at a right time when Bhutan’s emissions are increasing year after year. According to NEC, by 2040 Bhutan’s emission levels is estimated to touch 4.7mn, double than that of 2010 level.
Energy related emissions is expected to increase by almost 90% during the period 2010 -2040 while non-energy related emissions will increase by about 110%. The main increase is expected in the industrial sector with emissions quadrupling in 2040 against 2010 level.
The long term national strategy sets a target for the period until 2040 and describes a strategy for how this target may be achieved, with intermediate targets for 2020 and 2030.
The stepwise implementation of the long term strategy will be coined in a number of action plans where the short term action plan will be implemented first.