While the world wrestles with environmental concerns, especially carbon emissions, Bhutan, a tiny country sandwiched between China and India, is carbon-negative, meaning the country gives back more than it takes in terms of carbon footprint. The kingdom takes more greenhouse gases from the environment than it gives out.
One reason is natural; the other reasons are human-driven. Its vast green cover approximately spans across 70 percent of the country and acts as a natural carbon-absorbing carpet.
As a result, according to its own figures, this nation – approximately 14,800 square miles, about the size of Maryland – of around 750,000 people removes nearly three times as much CO2 as it generates.
Bhutan's position as a net carbon sink is partly due to its natural forests and its agrarian economy, according to a CNN story. The country is relatively undeveloped – most people work in farming or forestry. This enables Bhutan to limit its CO2 emissions to less than 2.5 million tons each year.
But Bhutan deserves credit for human interventions and adherence to foundational principles
44Gross National Happiness
52Bhutan is the only country in the world that by its own constitution protects its forests
Environmental protection enjoys the pride of place in the constitution, which stipulates that a minimum of 60 percent of Bhutan's total land should be maintained under forest cover at all times. Bhutan even banned logging exports in 1999.
Furthermore, almost all the country's electricity is generated from hydropower.
Even though Bhutan does its best to minimize carbon emissions, the effects of global warming have been telling on Bhutan, too. Landslides and rain are depleting forest cover. Bhutan, therefore, has a vested interest in trying to stem climate change on the global stage.