Journey into the heartland of Bhutan
The only carbon negative country in the world
While many countries struggle to reduce their carbon emissions, and some flat out refuse, the Kingdom of Bhutan is gaining global recognition for its climate change policies. That’s right! The tiny, landlocked country nestled in the Himalayas is the first and only place to be officially carbon negative. That means it’s actually removing more greenhouse gases from the environment than it’s producing!
Bhutan and Climate Change
Obviously this is a country that takes climate change seriously. Why? Wedged between India and China, some of the worst contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, Bhutan is seeing the direct effects of changing temperatures. The Himalayas are getting warmer, ice is melting and newly-formed glacial rivers threaten to burst their banks and flood farms and villages.
‘Heck no!,’ said Bhutan. In response, the country dedicated 72% of its land to forest cover and amended its constitution to ensure that the forested areas will never fall below 60%. Because of all those trees, the country offsets 6 million tons of CO2 each year. That’s more than 2 times the amount it produces!
But it doesn’t end there. The country strongly encourages afforestation (that means creating entirely new forests), it provides free electricity to reduce emissions from burning wood and it gives environmental subsidies for LED lights and Nissan electric cars. It also created protected areas with strict rules against poaching, mining, hunting and pollution, as well as biological corridors where animals are free to roam, adapt and reproduce. If that wasn’t amazing enough, the country is promising to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions and produce zero waste by 2030!