Bhutan: The greenest country in the world?
By James Fritz Thursday 10 July 2014
At OVO we try to do our best for the environment: we guarantee at least fifteen percent renewable energy in all our tariffs, and one hundred percent in our greenest tariff. That’s why we’ve fallen in love with Bhutan and the approach it takes to energy and the environment.
The tiny Buddhist kingdom tucked in the middle of the Himalayas has long been famous for its refusal to judge success on its Gross Domestic Product, instead using an index that measures the Gross National Happiness of its people. A huge part of this is an almost religious like respect for the environment - just take a look at some of its green credentials:
- Bhutan is the only country in the world that is officially a ‘carbon sink’. That means that it takes in more carbon dioxide than it produces.
- The carbon sink status is largely down to Bhutan’s extensive forests. The country is currently 72 percent forested, while the constitution guarantees that figure will always be at least sixty percent. A tree-mendous effort (sorry).
- At the start of the year Nissan partnered with the Bhutanese government to provide hundreds of electric cars to the country. The partnership was the start of a campaign launched by Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay to eventually convert all of Bhutan’s vehicles to electric power. The hundreds of initial cars will soon be scaled up to thousands, as Nissan looks at ways to bring electric cars and charging stations to Bhutan’s remote communities.
- Bhutan is also the only country in the world where renewable energy is the major export. The hilly terrain and swift flowing rivers mean that it is perfectly suited to producing hydroelectric power. The country produces far more green energy than it needs and sells the excess off to larger countries including India and Bangladesh, meaning that the backbone of the economy is based on creating renewable energy.
So there you have it. While we can’t say for sure whether Bhutan is - as sometimes claimed - the happiest place on Earth, it’s certainly in with a good shout at being the greenest.