The nondescript hamlet of Palli in Jammu and Kashmir’s border district of Samba became the country’s first ‘carbon neutral panchayat’ with Prime Minister dedicating to the nation a 500 KV solar plant, installed in a record time of nearly three weeks.
Carbon neutral panchayat
- It’s India that has come up with a living example in the form of Palli village to the Glasgow pledge. Palli village, with its enthusiastic and dedicated elected representatives full of dreams, has shown how to implement the Glasgow pledge.
- Palli was a major step towards the Glasgow goal of making India carbon-neutral.
- Palli village was also an example of the slogan ‘sab ka prayas’ (Everyone’s efforts). Every household in Pall offered ‘rotis’ to workers who completed the solar power plant.
- Whether it was Panchayat or Parliament, no work was small or big. “Panchayats will become mediums for the country to reach new heights,.
Back to basics
What is Carbon Neutrality?
- According to the definition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon neutrality, or net zero CO2 emissions, refers only to carbon dioxide emissions and is a state of balance between the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere and the CO2 removed from the atmosphere.
- In actual business practice, organizations often use the term “carbon neutrality” to include all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when they announce their ambitious emissions reduction targets.
- According to the European Parliament, carbon neutrality is reached when the same amount of CO2 is released into the atmosphere as is removed by various means, leaving a zero balance, also known as a zero carbon footprint. But what exactly do we mean by carbon footprint? This is defined as the total amount of GHG emissions caused by an individual, organisation, service or product.
- There are a number of ways of achieving the balance we are talking about. The healthiest way is not to emit more CO2 than can be absorbed naturally by the world’s forests and plants, which act as carbon sinks through the process of photosynthesis – they take in CO2 from the air and turn it into oxygen – helping to reduce emissions.
What is Net-zero emissions & Climate neutrality
- Net-zero emissions encompasses all GHG emissions, but also refers to balancing the emitted GHGs with the removed GHGs within a certain period of time. Climate neutrality, on the other hand, goes even further and considers all human impacts that affect the climate.
- Carbon neutrality can be differentiated from “net zero” and “climate neutrality,” because, on the surface, it technically reflects only carbon. However, in practical terms, when sustainability experts make assertions based on calculations, they often refer to all the GHGs with the term “carbon neutrality,” because they normally convert non-carbon GHGs into carbon equivalencies.
- Carbon negative means that an activity goes beyond carbon neutrality by eliminating more CO2 than it emits. Microsoft recently announced that it will be carbon negative by 2030.
- Carbon positive: means that an activity releases more carbon into the atmosphere than it removes or compensates for, producing a negative effect for the planet.
How can we achieve Carbon Neutrality?
- The group of experts on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that it is possible to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5°C, but they warn that to achieve this target requires unprecedented social and political change. In a recent communication, the UN indicated where we should be heading in the short term:
- Set a price for carbon emissions that makes it possible to invest in its removal and in the development of low-emission alternatives, such as renewable energy.
- Stop building new coal-powered power stations, which are responsible for a large proportion of the emissions.
- Transfer the carbon tax burden from taxpayers to the polluters.
- Mandate the publication of the economic risks associated with the climate.
- Include the goal of carbon neutrality in countries’ financial and fiscal decisions.
- On a personal level, every citizen has it in their power to reduce their carbon footprint. This is essential for achieving climate neutrality.
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