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Bhutan has ratified the Paris Agreement on the 19th September 2017. In its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), Bhutan aims to remain carbon neutral, building upon a commitment already made in 2010 (Royal Government of Bhutan, 2010). This means that Bhutan aims to maintain GHG emissions below the country’s total carbon sink from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).
The government called for international support for remaining carbon neutral without specifying actual needs, but has not made its target conditional on it. The NDC does not present any additional conditional emissions reduction target or possible actions that could potentially support its achievement, as many other developing countries did. Such mitigation actions would be necessary to reinforce Bhutan’s intentions to reduce its energy and industry related emissions, beyond maintaining its forests carbon sink.
While Bhutan aims to remain carbon neutral due to its carbon sinks, we note a concern that projected increasing energy and industry emissions could bring Bhutan into a difficult position for its long-term low-carbon transition, risking a breakdown of its carbon neutrality. Without assessing the LULUCF sector, the CAT rating of Bhutan’s NDC would be “Insufficient.” But, as it has already reached a target that the Paris Agreement requires (globally) only for the second half of the century, we decided to upgrade Bhutan to “2°C compatible,” despite its NDC technically falling into the “Insufficient” rating.