By Rajnish Himachali : A multi-crore Himachal Pradesh Mid Himalayan Watershed Project has been registered for carbon trading scheme under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The Project is expected to sequester the emission of 800 million tonnes of carbondioxide from 2006 to 2025 by promoting biodiversity through native species in remote areas.
This is first such project on public land to be registered for carbon trading in India in which 5000 families in the state will earn green money through raising plantations on barren land. The project is the first experiment of its kind in getting community participation in the plantation, conservation and protection of environment.
Under the carbon trading scheme, a wholly new business has developed in the commodity markets in state in which the 5000 families from remote and backward villages will receive carbon revenue for next 20 years from world bank for providing green cover to 4000 hectare barren land area falling in 10 districts of the state. All these areas were classified as deforested before 1990.The UN scheme has set a price of about 2500 per hectare per annum of carbon which will be measured depending on the growth of tree biomass. The biomass stocks will be periodically measured from permanent plots to estimate the carbon revenue. The bio mass measurement will be started within a year.
The project is estimated to generate carbon revenue of at least Rs. 20 crore to the communities and individual land holders for the first crediting period of 20 years, which is strong incentive to protect forest cover. The first payment is likely to be disbursed to the stakeholders in next two years said Shri R. K. Kapoor, Chief Project Director.
In a first experiment of its kind in getting participation of local people in the conservation and protection of environment, the villagers will be paid 90 per cent of the revenue the Government will get by selling to the World Banks the carbon credits resulting from sequestration of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide through afforestation.
The project will reduce 40,000 tonnes of carbondioxide per year for a 20 year crediting period beginning from the year 2006. The project is initially for 20 years which can be extended to total 60 years period.
Under the Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement, the bank will buy 3.5 lakh temporary certified emission reductions for plantations raised over 4003 hectares in the first phase covering the period 2006-2018 depending on the growth of biomass. The programme would be implemented through the Joint Forest Management Committee, and so far around 400 such committees had been formed at the hamlet level. The entire process for joint forest management committee would be completed in three months time.
There was 75 per cent rate of survival of the plantations being done by the local people under this project and the process of measurement of the biomass will start within a year. CDM is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in which the industrialised nations are mandated to meet targets of reducing greenhouse gas emission responsible for causing global warming which was leading to climate change.
Besides reducing the emissions in their own country, they can also do it by buying financing green projects (activities that reduce emission of greenhouse gases) in the developing countries that are not legally bound to meet such targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
Himachal Pradesh Mid Himalayan watershed development project is the first pilot project for India and is the world’s first carbon credit project that is linked to an ongoing watershed management programme having broad objective to sequester greenhouse gases by expanding forestry plantations on mostly degraded lands apart from creating a carbon sink.