Sikkim to assess its carbon credit for global support

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Gangtok, Jan 18 (UNI) In a bid to conserve the lush green forest cover and produce clean hydel power in the state, the Sikkim government will assess the entire carbon credit earned by the state so far.

''We are seriously thinking to carry out assessment of the entire carbon credit that we have earned in the process and put the entire clean development mechanism we follow in carbon trading. This will bring us fame, resources and technology,'' Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling said.

The Chief Minister highlighted his government's efforts in expanding the state's forest cover to 46 per cent and emphasised on hydel power generation to reduce overall carbon dioxide emission in the country.

''Sikkim is trying to contribute significantly by setting up hydel power generation to the tune of 8,000 MW in a phased manner after taking all environmental safeguards. This will be a big contribution to the nation in overall carbon dioxide budgeting,'' he said.

Mr Chamling added that by adopting these procedures, Sikkim would be preventing the carbon dioxide emission in a ''big way''.

''And whatever industries we have, they do not add to the global warming process in any way. So, we should be encouraged to consolidate the practice of clean development mechanism. This means our efforts should be supported,'' he said.

The second component of the state's clean development mechanism would be the stringent efforts to conserve and expand its forest cover.

''Forests are the one of the richest natural resources and more than 46 per cent of the state's geographical area is under forest cover with a per capita forest cover of 0.61 hectare against the national average of 0.08 hectare. The many environmental initiatives over the years have resulted in an increase of the forest cover by two per cent, from 43.95 per cent in 1993-94, to 45.97 per cent in 2005-06,'' Mr Chamling said.

He also emphasised on the need of awareness about the value of forests, which should be reflected in the economic planning and adequately compensated under the clean development mechanism.

According to a study conducted in the Western Himalayas, an average value of 1,150 dollar (Rs 46,000) per hectare per year is estimated for the ecological services provided by the forests.

''By the same token, Sikkim's forests would render a service of value approximately to the tune of Rs 1,500 crores per year. Having taken adequate steps to protect and conserve the forests, there is a need to evaluate and quantify the services rendered by our forest ecosystem,'' Mr Chamling said.

''For us in Sikkim, the issue of carbon trading is very vital as we have been practising clean development mechanism,'' the Chief Minister claimed.

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