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Bhutan's Policies Help Make it One of the World's Only Carbon-Negative Countries

Bhutan produces 1.5 million tonnes of carbon every year, but thanks to the country’s 72 per cent forest coverage, more than 6 million tonnes of carbon is absorbed.

Bhutan’s population is only around 750,000; however, many other small countries have not achieved even carbon neutral status.

Since 1972, Bhutan has based their political decisions on a Gross National Happiness (GNH) index, rather than Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

All government policies are vetted according to GNH, and what the Bhutanese call the four pillars: good governance, sustainable promotion of socioeconomic development, preservation of culture and environmental conservation.

A 2015 survey found 91 per cent of Bhutanese people were narrowly, extensively or deeply happy.

From 2009, Bhutan introduced a series of policies to ensure the country stayed carbon neutral including a constitutional amendment to guarantee forested areas would not fall below 60 per cent, free hydroelectric power generated by Bhutan’s many rivers was prioritised over fossil fuels and export logging was prohibited.

Inga Vitola

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