Himachal Pradesh to be the 1st state to become carbon-neutral by 2020: Dhumal

 Himachal Pradesh would be the first state in the country to become carbon neutral by 2020 by undertaking "carbon smart growth", Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal claimed here today. 

"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," Dhumal said while speaking at 12th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit. 

The summit with the theme "Protecting the Global Commons: 20 years Post Rio" is organised by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) headed by noted environmentalist R K Pachauri. 

Listing the initiatives taken for betterment of environment, he said the state government has signed an agreement with World Bank for harnessing carbon credits to generate revenue amounting to Rs 20 crores for 20 years under "Bio--Carbon Projects " in 177 gram panchayats in 10 districts of the state. 

He said the state government 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. 

As per the exercise to cut down carbon emission, he said 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. 

The government has 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 out of total 3000 panchayats in the hill state. 

Dhumal said so far around 250 panchayats have been covered including the remotest Lahaul Spiti areas of the Himalayan state. 

The CM said the state government has launched "Atal Bijli Bachat Yojna" to reduce energy consumption and GHG emission by distributing free 4 CFL bulbs to every household in the state.

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