Carbon trading: MoEF launches pilot scheme in 3 states

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has initiated a pilot carbon trading scheme in Gujarat and two other states in the hope that these states may begin to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

"The concentration of particulate matter in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat is higher than the norms prescribed in NAAQS-2009. It is felt that the market based approaches to control environmental quality have the potential to deliver desired environmental outcomes at the lowest social cost," the MoEF said in its annual report for 2011-12, released last Friday.

"The Ministry of Environment and Forests, in association with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, has initiated a large scale pilot programme to design a particulate emissions trading regulatory regime for industry. The proposed Market Based Emissions Trading Scheme will set a new model for environmental regulation in India," the Ministry added.

The Gujarat Pollution Control Board is understood to have begun a survey of industries, their air pollution levels and related machinery at about 400 units in Sachin Industrial Cluster, Surat, and Narol, Ahmedabad, which officials said have numerous textile units that "contributes to particulate matter pollution in the populous cities of Ahmedabad and Surat".

For example, between 2003 and 2009, the air over Ahmedabad had roughly four times more harmful particulate material than is considered safe by the government. The pollution load was twice as much compared to Vapi and Ankleshwar, considered among the most polluted industrial areas in India.

State Environment and Forests Secretary S K Nanda and GPCB member-secretary Hardik Shah currently sit as members of the Governing Committee, Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

The ETS was proposed by two professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, one from Harvard University and another from the Harvard Kennedy School. Two of these are board members of an organisation called J-PAL, which is expected to evaluate the scheme.

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