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GREEN CREDIT PROGRAMME (GCP): Explained



  Apr 26, 2024

GREEN CREDIT PROGRAMME (GCP): Explained



1. What is the Green Credit Programme?

The Green Credit Programme (GCP) is a market-based initiative launched by India’s Environment Ministry in October 2023 as part of Mission Life. It aims to promote sustainability by incentivizing voluntary environmental conservation efforts such as afforestation, water conservation, air pollution control, waste management, and mangrove conservation. Participants, including individuals, organizations, and companies, can earn ‘green credits’ for their contributions to these activities, which can then be traded on a designated platform managed by the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).

2. Who will carry out the afforestation measures under the GCP?

The afforestation measures under the GCP will be conducted by State forest departments. These departments will undertake the actual planting of trees on designated tracts of degraded forest land and wastelands.

3. What are the responsibilities of the States under the new rules?

States are required to provide land parcels for afforestation and determine the specifics of restoration efforts, including suitable vegetation types, whether trees, shrubs, herbs, or grasses, based on the ecological needs of the area. They must also evaluate and report on the survival and growth of planted vegetation.

4. Can companies trade ‘green credits’ under the GCP?

Yes, companies, as well as other participants, can trade green credits earned through their conservation efforts. The GCP includes a trading platform where these credits can be bought and sold, allowing companies to offset their environmental impacts or comply with environmental regulations through the acquisition of credits.

5. Why has the GCP been controversial?

Critics have raised concerns that the GCP commodifies environmental conservation and may allow for easier diversion of forest land for industrial use under the guise of compensatory afforestation. Furthermore, there are ecological concerns that planting trees without considering the appropriate type of vegetation could disrupt local ecosystems and promote invasive species.

6. How has the government responded to the criticism?

The government has adjusted its guidelines to allow for more ecological flexibility in restoration efforts, emphasizing the importance of using indigenous species and appropriate vegetation types for different degraded landscapes. The government also clarified that green credits cannot fully replace the obligations of compensatory afforestation but can complement these efforts as part of a broader sustainability strategy.

7. What are the long-term goals of the GCP?

The long-term goals of the GCP are to enhance India’s forest cover, improve the health of its ecosystems, and contribute to the global fight against climate change through effective and sustainable conservation practices that engage a broad spectrum of society.



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