According to the Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, no zone has been declared as carbon-neutral in Kerala. Minister’s statement comes on the heels of recent newspaper reports saying that Meenangadi, a small village in Kerala, is set to become ‘carbon neutral’ village – a state of zero carbon footprint achieved when carbon emissions in the atmosphere are cancelled out by an equal amount of sequestration.
The Minister also stated that keeping in mind the diversity across various States and districts of the country in the endowment of natural resources and in the nature of the overall development of the economy, the Government of India does not envisage or expect carbon neutrality declarations and efforts by all States/Union Territories and/or districts at the panchayat/village level. He said this in the Lok Sabha yesterday in a written reply to a question.
“It is anticipated that districts with high forest cover such as Wayanad, can effectively contribute to realising our Nationally Determined Contributions goal of increasing the carbon sequestration by continued conservation and enhancement of forest and tree cover with minimum degradation,” the Minister said.
With specific reference to the absorption of carbon dioxide, the most prominent greenhouse gas, by vegetation, it is noteworthy that forest and tree cover in the country is steadily increasing. As per the Third Biennial Report to the UNFCCC, India has reported that currently, our forest and tree cover has absorbed nearly 15% of our carbon dioxide emissions in 2016.