In 2013, the United Nations conducted a meeting in Paris about climate change, focusing on the increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide because it intensifies Earth’s ongoing greenhouse effect. On 12 December 2015, the meeting came to an agreement.
Countries representing more than 60% of global emissions will have to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) suggested it as a priority. Signed by 195 countries, including the EU, the Paris Agreement is the basis for new environmental policies, including climate laws, which all have the main goal of becoming carbon neutral.
By general means, becoming carbon neutral means counterbalancing the amount of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere and removing it by the same amount being emitted. Carbon neutrality helps countries achieve a net-zero emission economy in line with the Paris Agreement.Any greenhouse gas emissions produced by humans will be adsorbed entirely by renewable energy or natural adsorbents, so nothing will disperse into the atmosphere. Thus, it immensely decreases the rates of global warming with tactical steps. Currently, the amount of concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is now 414.3 parts per million. Concentrations of this magnitude raise the earth's temperature by 1.2 degree celsius.
How the use of carbon credit can lead to a net-zero emission economy
In a business environment, becoming carbon neutral requires the use of carbon credits. Carbon credit is a tradable permit or certificate that allows the right of an organization or persons to compensate for their GHG emissions by financing resource-efficient practices, or otherwise known as carbon offsets. 1 Carbon credit permits 1 tonne of greenhouse gas.
Carbon offsets pertain to the trade-off system with carbon credits. As mentioned earlier, carbon credit is created to mitigate the production of GHG emissions, by benefiting the assets towards carbon offsets that will consequently adsorbs the emissions.At the same time it helps balance economic growth and diversification between industries, whilst aiming for a better environmental protection. With the increase of population, there is more of a demand for carbon offsets, more specifically due to densification. Common projects that carbon offset supports are renewable energy, which includes biomass energy, solar panels, wind power mills, hydroelectric dams and more.
How we can apply Bhutan's Footsteps on Carbon Neutrality
Currently, Bhutan is the only country which is deemed as carbon neutral. The total GHG Bhutan produces (2 million tons), is less than its carbon offsets (7 million tons). Bhutan’s government prioritizes the wellbeing of the country’s environment and its conservation. Bhutan’s economy is driven by their country’s exports of renewable resources- wind, biogas, solar power and more.
As of 2016, Bhutan exported offsets of roughly 6 million carbon dioxide. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay explains in his 2016 Ted Talk, that if Bhutan was able to harness even half of the potential hydroelectric power, they would be able to offset roughly 50 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is considerably more than the carbon dioxide that New York City produces in one year alone!
Bhutan was not only able to profit off from exporting its renewable technologies, but they were also able to use it as an opportunity to increase the protection of their natural resources and help fight climate change globally considering their well-known investments for their carbon offsets. The country conserves its parks annually, continually plants trees, provides free energy towards their citizens, for example- free electricity is provided to their rural farmers. Lastly, their government reforms their constitutions and political ideologies into becoming more eco-friendly. Bhutan’s prime minister claims that Bhutan is a country that isn't just carbon neutral – “It’s carbon negative.”. Surely, if Bhutan is able to achieve complete carbon neutrality, so can every country.
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