Himachal project to get carbon credit in first for India on public land

October 31st, 2011 - 4:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 31 (IANS) Ahead of its 17th Conference of Parties in Durban late-November, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has registered for carbon credits the Rs.365-crore Himachal Pradesh Mid-Himalayan Watershed Project being co-funded by the World Bank.

This is the first project on public land in India registered for carbon credits.

Under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change industrialised nations are mandated to meet targets of reducing greenhouse gas emission responsible for causing global warming which was leading to climate change.

If they are unable to bring down emissions, countries or companies operating in these regions, have the option of buying carbon credits from projects which have been awarded these credits by the UN clean development mechanism (CDM).

The Himalayan Watershed Project will thus accrue millions of carbon credits which will benefit about 5,000 families from remote and backward villages in the state, receiving revenue for the next 20 years from the World Bank for providing green cover to 4,000 hectare barren land area falling in 10 districts.

“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 a strong incentive to protect forest cover,” R. K. Kapoor, Chief Project Director of the programme, told IANS.

That turns out to be Rs.2,500 per hectare per annum.

This is the first experiment of its kind in getting participation of local people in the conservation and protection of environment. The villagers will be paid 90 percent of the revenue the state government gets by selling to the World Bank the carbon credits resulting from sequestration of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide through afforestation.

“The first payment is likely to be disbursed to the stakeholders in next two years,” he added.

Kapoor heads a six-member official team which devised and registered the project.

The project will reduce 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year for a 20-year crediting period beginning from 2006. Initially for 20 years, the project can also be extended to a total of 60 years.

Under the Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement, the World Bank will buy 3.5 lakh temporary certified emission reductions (tCERs) for plantations raised over 4,003 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 Committees, 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,” said Kapoor.

“There was 75 percent 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.”

(James Jose can be contacted at james.jose@ians.in or biz@ians.in)

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