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Sri Lanka to set green house gas emission targets

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will set greenhouse gas targets in key economic sectors and come up with targets and activities for which foreign grants are available, under a proposal submitted by President Maithripala Sirisena as the minister for environment.

The cabinet has approved the creation of activities in the fields of power, industries, garbage disposal and forests to reduce green house gas emissions, a statement from the state information office said.

" It is necessary to identify the amount of green house gas emissions of each field to reach the targets determined locally," the cabinet had been informed.

Sri Lanka has been bound to set targets under the Paris Agreement from 2016.

Compared to developed countries Sri Lanka has low carbon emissions, analyst say and care must be taken not to set difficult targets which may worsen poverty by pushing up energy costs.

People in poor countries tend to consume less energy, while rich people travel more, use air conditioning and power.

Sri Lanka however has a relatively low industrial export capacity, a phenomenon that had tended to cause excessive pollution in East Asian nations and generate industrial waste.

Industrial exports are a way of importing pollution and waste and merchandise imports are a way of avoiding pollution.

Due to high energy costs and policy uncertainty and expropriation which have discouraged foreign direct investment and import protection which analysts say contributed to discouraging domestic investment in exports, Sri Lanka has a relatively low industrial export capacity, in contrast to East Asia, where industrial exports cause pollution.

According to World Bank data Sri Lanka has one of the lowest per person carbon dioxide emissions rates in the region. About a third of the country’s power is made up of hydro power.





Sri Lanka had emissions equivalent of 0.9 metric tonnes per person a year, compared to 8 tonnes in Malaysia, 10.3 for Singapore, 16.5 tonnes for the US and 4.6 tonnes for France.

Sri Lanka may have to set targets which allow an increase of emissions of at least up to the level of France, where the Paris Agreement was initiated, some analysts say.

Allowing the service sector to expand however may help reduce carbon emissions per dollar of gross domestic product made.

Sri Lanka has the opportunity to remove government regulations and constraints that prevent the country from moving deeper into the service sector, analysts say. These include having a strong exchange rate, and removing controls on private education.  (Colombo/Aug23/2018 – Update II)

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