India can offset close to 520 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year through reforestation alone, according to a study.
The study, released by The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organisation said that merely by conservation of nature, and reforestation, about 37 per cent of global greenhouse gas emission could be reduced by 2030.
“This is equivalent to a complete stop on the burning of oil, worldwide,” the study said.
The study found that natural climate solutions such as planting more trees, improving soil health, and protecting mangrove and peatlands could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 11.3 billion tonnes per year by 2030.
India ranks fifth in greenhouse gas emissions.
According to India’s first Biennial Report to UNFCCC in 2015, the national GHG net emissions amounted to a total of 1.884 billion tonnes Gg CO2 eq.
According to 2017 report, India has total 697,898 sq kms of forest cover, a considerable increase from 14 per cent in 1950-51.
Under its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), India has pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent and create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2.
“Reforestation activities alone could offset emissions equivalent to that produced by 90 coal power plants. A third of India’s geographical area is still degraded and offers significant opportunities to sequester carbon through reforestation while also creating jobs and improving freshwater availability for rural communities,” said Seema Paul, Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy India.