JUN 2018  

We are quite glad to present the 14th anniversary issue of TerraGreen before our discerning readers. The journey of the last 14 years has been quite rewarding for us; during these years we have sought to bring to you well-researched articles on issues related to the environment and sustainable development presented in an easy-to-read manner.

Continuing that tradition, this month's cover story, 'Carbon Neutrality: A Vision Worth Pursuing for India' discusses an India-specific model through which we could lower our carbon footprint—to zero—in the years to come. Carbon neutral, also called carbon neutrality is a term used to describe the action of organizations, businesses, and individuals to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as each put into it. The overall goal of carbon neutrality is to achieve a zero-carbon footprint. Many individuals, companies, and countries across the world have made a commitment to becoming carbon neutral. This means taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and then 'offsetting' any remaining emissions.

India's INDC, submitted to the UNFCCC, spells out the national commitment to address global warming so as to ensure that it does not lead to irreversible harm. Reducing our emissions—ultimately to zero—is at the heart of such an approach, along with the necessity to adapt to the adverse impacts of the global warming that is now inevitable because of past carbon emissions. Our carbon footprint can be reduced by planting more trees and increasing forest cover to absorb some of the emitted carbon, as well as by reducing the level of emissions so that they are equivalent to those that are absorbed/sequestered by plants and trees. The power sector, transportation, industries, and buildings are the key areas where carbon emission-reducing actions are particularly important.

This month, the special report, on land degradation neutrality complements our cover story on carbon neutrality. It throws light on the threats posed by land degradation and desertification in India and other parts of the world. The report highlights the major steps taken by the United Nations (UN) to address the issue. So far, over 110 countries have engaged with the land degradation neutrality (LDN) target setting programme and considerable progress has been made since the 2030 Agenda was adopted in 2015. LDN represents a paradigm shift in land management policies and practices. It is a unique approach that counterbalances the expected loss of productive land with the recovery of degraded areas. The new UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework is the most inclusive global commitment to achieve LDN in order to restore the productivity of vast expanses of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations.