Carbon neutral?

Dorji, commenting on my last post, GNH vs GDP:

… what is surprising is that OL seem to have been engrossed in counting the repetition of GNH instead of the substance of the address itself.

Dorji is right. We should pay attention to, and analyze, the substantive parts of the PM’s address. So that’s exactly what we’ll do over the next few days. Here’s the plan: I’ll pick up some issues, one at a time, and we’ll discuss them.

Let’s begin with something easy: the environment. In his State of the Nation address, the PM informed the Parliament of the government’s decision to keep Bhutan carbon neutral for all time to come:

At the Conference of Parties Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen (COP 15) last December, Bhutan declared that it will forever remain carbon neutral and serve as a net carbon sink.

Climate change is a reality. And, left unchecked, global warming could inflict dire consequences on Bhutan, a country that has become increasingly dependent on the Himalayan water resources.

So the government’s promise sounds good. The “Declaration of the Kingdom of Bhutan – the Land of Gross National Happiness to Save our Planet”, as the proclamation is called, sounds like a good idea.

Is it really a good idea? The government seems to think so. But we, the people, don’t know. We don’t know, because we were never consulted.

In its enthusiasm to make the carbon neutral promise at the Copenhagen Summit, the government seems to have done a hurried job – it signed the declaration on 11th December 2009, and, barely a week later, announced it in Copenhagen – without any consultations with the people. We don’t know if experts were consulted, but we do know that our farmers were not consulted. Similarly, the private sector was not consulted. And, even though the Parliament was in session when the declaration was signed, even the parliament was not consulted.

Is the government required to consult the people and the Parliament? No

Should the government have consulted the people and the Parliament? Yes. After all, the declaration is a momentous promise, one that will have far reaching consequences, one that has been made on our behalf, and our children’s behalf, for all time to come.

And, as it turns out, one that we may find difficult to honour.


Facebook Comments:


  1. What I find ironic, is our government’s climate change initiative is just lip service.
    They say they want to charge higher taxes to largers vehicles, yet, they provide quota to people who can afford them, so that they won’t have to pay taxes.

    The latest news is that MPS are going to get to vehicle logos. Is that how you lead by example? Why don’t all the MPs and their families get tattoos of MP logo on their forehead. I cannot believe the egos of those people.

    While the rest of the world is trying to create equality and get rid of discrimination, Bhutan is moving backwards. In Bhutan, all they want is to create different classes of people. The red kabney’s the MPs, everyone wants to be treated like they are class above other people.
    Shame on them. No wonder Bhutan’s human right records never improves.

  2. Bullchakpa says

    As long as you don’t go all out to sell the country to polluting industrialists with no consideration whatsoever for the environment, Bhutan can remain carbon neutral. It is people who are bent on supporting such industries inspite of the declaration and try to convince others that it is not possible that we should watch out for.

  3. Dago Tshering says

    I think the government must have consulted the climate experts on agreeing with the carbon neutrality declaration. Same time, COP 15 has high expectations from the nations and our country also offered the most appropriate commitment in terms of fightnig with the global warming issue. This declaration to me gives enough oppurtunity for our country to further negotiate and garner support from developed countries in supporting sector development by aligning with the green growth concept.
    Bhutans emission status at the moment is also negative becuase of our large forest coverage (constitution spells out 60 % at all times) but every one must be aware of the carbon neutral vision. We must explore alternatives for building eco friendly instead of timber fed houses to reduce deforestation. There are number of alternatives in each sector to maintain carbon neutral emissions and this is the right time to start working on it or we will miss these oppurtunities.
    Above all, this declaration is a guide, a click to remind our policy makers to consider green growth development.(I hope they seriously adopt this).
    However,even with our effort in remaining carbon neutral, the consequences from climate change will not spare us and we will be the most vulnerable rather becuase of our geographical location and adaptation capacity. (The change in climate is all becuase of the historical emissions made by the developed countries). Therefore, time has come for us to prepare ourselves to adapt to this change in climate and to initiate well planned response measures.

  4. why didn’t you raise the issue of public referendum or atleast the consensus of the parliament when the present government committed all our viable hydro-projects for next 10 years to India.Do they have the right to dicide on our future… 11 of them????

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