The mountain kingdom of Bhutan may not seem an obvious place to look for lessons on addressing climate change. But on a recent visit I was impressed with how much this small country has achieved and also with its ambition. Bhutan has much to teach South Asia and the wider world. These lessons are especially relevant as the world negotiates in Paris a new pact on climate change at the International Climate Change Summit, known as COP21, which we all hope will eventually move the global economy to a low carbon and more resilient path. Continue reading Big lessons on climate change from a small country
But what is the cost-benefit of a sound environmental policy?
12 December, 2009 – As Bhutan showcased its environmental friendly projects at the sidelines of the Copenhagen climate change conference yesterday, it also made a pledge in Thimphu, by signing a declaration, to follow and be guided by a strong sense of conservation ethics and remain a carbon neutral country.
The declaration calls for global attention to Bhutan’s commitment to preserving its rich eco system and in return is asking for support for its mitigation and adaptation measures to adapt to climate change.
“In spite of our status as a small, mountainous developing country, with so many other pressing social and economic development needs and priorities, we feel that there’s no need greater or more important than keeping the planet safe for life to continue,” states the declaration. “Therefore, we commit ourselves to keep absorbing more carbon than we emit and to maintain our country’s status as a net sink for greenhouse gases (GHG).” Continue reading Bhutan pledged to carbon neutrality
Bhutan will see an increase in winter temperature of 1.5°C to 4.0°C by 2050s, according to a World Bank (WB) report released in conjunction with the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen underway this week.
The report titled, Shared Views on Development and Climate Change, states that there are no long-term climate data available on Bhutan but available data during the 1990-2002 period point to an increase in rainfall inconsistency across the country.
In the 1998-2003 period, the mean monthly temperature recorded was higher than the mean temperature recorded for the 1990-2003 period, pointing to an overall warming trend. The predicted increases in temperature and more erratic rainfall patterns pose a threat to Bhutan, its people, and its economy. With its fragile ecosystem, glacier lake outburst floods in the northern mountains constitute an ever-present threat. Of the 2,674 glacial lakes in Bhutan, 24 are considered to be potentially dangerous, states the report. Continue reading Bhutan climate report in Copenhagen
The first phase of an international project to reduce the risk of Bhutan valley from the threatening bursting of growing and increasingly unstable glacial lake is emphasising the huge costs of climate change adaptation in the Himalayas.
Thorthormi Tsho is a glacial lake perched precariously at 4,428 metres above the sea level in the remote Lunana area of northern Bhutan. Rated as one of Bhutan’s likeliest future catastrophes, a breach and outburst flood through Thorthormi Tsho’s unstable moraine walls would most likely spill into the also vulnerable Raphsthreng Tsho 80 metres below, with the combined flood suddenly releasing up to 53 million cubic metres of water and debris into the upper catchment of the Pho Chhu River.
In a valley still bearing the scars of a just one third as large 1994 Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF)which took more than 20 lives and devastated villages and wrecked transport and power facilities, the prospect is frightening. Continue reading Draining the dangerous Thorthormi Lake
Vote Earth! Switch Off Your Lights For Earth Hour
Dear Friends of Bridge To Bhutan:
Here in Bhutan, we are exactly one hour away from observing the Earth Hour 2009.
From melting glaciers to increasingly intense weather patterns, we know that climate change is already impacting life on our planet.
On Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 8:30 pm, Bridge To Bhutan will take part in Earth Hour – the world’s largest global climate change event. By simply turning out all non-essential lighting for one hour at our company buildings and in our own homes, we will join tens of millions of concerned citizens throughout the world in calling for action to save our planet for future generations.
We’d like to encourage you, one of our valued visitors, to join us in this important and inspiring effort.
Led by the World Wildlife Fund, more than 50 million people in 370 cities around the world took part in Earth Hour last year. The lights went out at Sydney’s Opera House, Rome’s Coliseum, the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge. Even the Google homepage went dark for the day.
This year, Earth Hour will be even bigger. It’s true that the effort may not seem significant in the developing countries, including Bhutan, where the luxury of having lights is a rarity; people can still make a difference.
It’s the gesture that matters! Let’s do what we can in support of this timely effort. Spread the awareness!
Around the world, cities large and small have said they’ll participate with more signing up daily. They will join international cities such as Beijing, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, and Toronto. So far 2,140 cities, towns and municipalities in 82 countries have already committed to VOTE EARTH as part of the world’s first global election between Earth and global warming. So if you’re traveling or flying and all of sudden, all the lights go out for an hour (the Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge and Sydney’s Opera House are a few of the participating landmarks around the world) – don’t be alarmed. It’s just Earth Hour.
To get a better sense of the magnitude and inspiring nature of the event, take a moment to watch WWF’s video about Earth Hour 2009:
Participating in Earth Hour is easy, fun and absolutely free. To get more information and to sign up to for Earth Hour 2009, just visit www.earthhour.org (choose your country) and agree to turn out your lights from 8:30-9:30 pm on March 28, 2009. If you are in Bhutan or any other developing countries not listed on the site, you can still make a difference by turning off your lights for an hour at the same time.
Energy efficiency isn’t just good for the bottom line. As citizens of the world, we all have a stake in the future of our planet and must seek to operate in ways that don’t deplete our world’s limited natural resources.
In the weeks and months following the Earth Hour, we will continue to look at ways we can operate more efficiently, waste less and reduce our environmental footprint – not only in our own operations, but throughout our supply chain (partners and visitors). That’s because all of us here at Bridge To Bhutan care about the future of our world and want to do what we can to make a positive difference.
We want the world to do more than just turn out lights during this historic event; we hope you’ll join us, and encourage people you know in the community to also take part and learn about global warming. Don’t forget – tonight at 8:30 pm, switch off.
Let’s not stop here; we can do more. Let’s be conscious!
Team Bridge To Bhutan
Meteorological data over the last six years show that Bhutan is becoming warmer.
The nationwide data maintained by meteorology section of the department of energy show an annual increase in temperature and rainfall. They show that, in the last six years, there has been an increasing trend in erratic precipitation and monsoon patterns across the country.
Weather forecast records throughout the country confirm climate change in Bhutan.
In the south, the maximum average temperature in Bhur, Sarpang, has risen from 27.08 degree Celsius in 2003 to 28.49 degree Celsius in 2008. In six years, Bhur has become warmer by 1.41 degree Celsius. The average minimum temperature, which was 17.8 degree Celsius in 2003, has shot up by 0.875 degree Celsius in 2008. Continue reading Bhutan warmer and wetter