Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has notified the draft ‘Green Credit Programme (GCP)’ implementation rules for 2023.
What is Green Credit Programme (GCP)?
- GCP will be launched at the national level, utilizing a competitive market-based approach to encourage voluntary environmental actions.
- The scheme will incentivize individual and community behaviors, as well as motivate private sector industries, companies, and other entities to fulfill their existing obligations.
- By participating in activities that generate or allow the purchase of green credits, stakeholders can align with the objectives of the scheme.
Green Credit Activities
- Tree Plantation-Based Green Credit: To promote activities for increasing the green cover across the country through tree plantation and related activities.
- Water-Based Green Credit: To promote water conservation, water harvesting and water use efficiency / savings, including treatment and reuse of wastewater.
- Sustainable Agriculture-Based Green Credit: To promote natural and Regenerative Agricultural practices and land restoration to improve productivity, soil health and nutritional value of food produced.
- Waste Management-Based Green Credit: To promote sustainable and improved practices for waste management, including collection, segregation and treatment.
- Air Pollution Reduction-Based Green Credit: To promote measures for reducing air pollution and other pollution abatement activities.
- Mangrove conservation and restoration-based green credit: To promote measures for conservation and restoration of mangroves.
- Ecomark-based Green Credit: To encourage manufacturers to obtain ‘Ecomark’ label for their goods and services.
- Sustainable Building and Infrastructure-based Green Credit: To encourage the construction of buildings and other infrastructure using sustainable technologies and materials.
- Through the programme, thresholds and benchmarks will be developed for each Green Credit activity.
Significance of the GCP
- It’s a first-of-its-kind instrument that seeks to value and reward multiple ecosystem services to allow green projects to achieve optimal returns beyond just carbon.
- The scheme will allow project proponents to also access carbon markets additionally.
Concerns Regarding the Green Credit Mechanism
Risk of Greenwashing:
- Experts express concerns that the market-based nature of green credits may lead to greenwashing practices.
- There is a risk of entities making false or exaggerated claims about environmental sustainability without delivering substantial environmental benefits.
- Some fear that companies or entities may engage in superficial activities solely to generate green credits, without making meaningful efforts to address environmental issues.
- This raises concerns about the genuineness and effectiveness of the actions taken.
Need for Urgent Emissions Reductions:
- Critics question the effectiveness of market mechanisms, such as green credits, in achieving the necessary and urgent emissions reductions required to combat climate change.
- They argue that more transformative efforts guided by government policies and regulations are essential.
Resource Allocation and Fraud Prevention:
- There are concerns about the allocation of resources for monitoring and preventing fraud within the green credit mechanism.
- Critics argue that these resources could be better directed towards initiatives with more significant transformative impacts on sustainability.
FAQs about Green Credit Programme (GCP):
Q. What is the Green Credit Programme (GCP)?
Answer:- The Green Credit Programme (GCP) is a national-level initiative launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India. It utilizes a competitive market-based approach to incentivize and encourage voluntary environmental actions by various stakeholders.
Q. What is the objective of the GCP?
Answer:- The primary objective of the GCP is to promote environmental conservation and sustainability by incentivizing and rewarding actions that contribute to activities such as tree plantation, water conservation, sustainable agriculture, waste management, air pollution reduction, mangrove conservation, eco-labeling, and sustainable building and infrastructure development.
Q. How does the GCP work?
Answer:- The GCP works through a system of green credits, where stakeholders can participate in activities that generate or enable the purchase of green credits aligned with the scheme’s objectives. These credits can be earned through specific environmental actions and used as a measure of the participant’s environmental contribution.
Q. Who can participate in the GCP?
Answer:- The GCP encourages the participation of various stakeholders, including individuals, communities, private sector industries, companies, and other entities. It aims to motivate these participants to fulfill their environmental obligations and contribute to sustainable practices.
Q. What are some of the green credit activities under the GCP?
Answer:- The green credit activities include tree plantation-based green credit, water-based green credit for conservation and efficiency, sustainable agriculture-based green credit, waste management-based green credit, air pollution reduction-based green credit, mangrove conservation, and restoration-based green credit, ecomark-based green credit, and sustainable building and infrastructure-based green credit.
Q. How will thresholds and benchmarks be established for green credit activities?
Answer:- Thresholds and benchmarks for each green credit activity will be developed by the GCP to ensure that the participants meet specific criteria and standards in their environmental efforts.
Q. What sets the GCP apart from other environmental initiatives?
Answer:- The GCP is a first-of-its-kind instrument that values and rewards multiple ecosystem services, going beyond just carbon credits. It allows green projects to achieve optimal returns and also access carbon markets in addition to the green credits.
Q. What are the concerns regarding the GCP?
Answer:- Some concerns about the GCP include the risk of greenwashing, where entities may make false or exaggerated claims about environmental sustainability. There are also concerns about tokenistic activities, inadequate emissions reductions, and resource allocation and fraud prevention within the green credit mechanism.
Q. How will the GCP address concerns about greenwashing and tokenistic activities?
Answer:- To address these concerns, robust monitoring and verification mechanisms will be essential to ensure that participants genuinely contribute to environmental conservation and sustainability. Stricter regulations and transparency can help prevent tokenistic actions.
Q. Will the GCP alone be sufficient to combat climate change?
Answer:- Critics argue that while the GCP is a step in the right direction, more transformative efforts guided by government policies and regulations are crucial to achieve the necessary and urgent emissions reductions needed to combat climate change effectively.
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