The PM of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay, appeared on Ted Talks to address the audience on the issues related to environment preservation.
The bulk of his talk focused on the two-pronged policy that His Majesty of Bhutan calls the Bhutan For Life plan. This bilateral approach towards development tries to, on the one hand, ensure social well being which is measure through the novel concept of Gross National Happiness (GDH) while celebrating the unique culture of Bhutan. The second is a commitment to sustainable development. The Bhutanese constitution mandates that at least 60% of Bhutan should remain under forest cover. To give you a sense of perspective, India has about 21% of its land as ‘forest area’.
What is mind boggling is the fact that Bhutan isn’t just carbon neutral, but carbon negative. To put it into numbers, this is what PM Tobgay had to say.
Our entire country generates 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, but our forest, they sequester more than three times that amount. But that’s not all. We export most of the renewable electricity we generate from our fast flowing rivers. So today, the clean energy that we export offsets about six million tons of carbon dioxide in our neighborhood.
He defines Bhutan as a net carbon sink.
As the talk comes to a close, he goes on to explain the details of the Bhutan For Life plan which is a multidonor-single closing fund intended to support Bhutan for the next 15 years in its goal to fully realize the clean energy potential of the country.