India plans national strategy to tackle global warming

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked policymakers to come up with a detailed national plan by November to tackle the effects of global warming, his office said Saturday.

India plans national strategy to tackle global warming
Singh asked the members of his Council on Climate Change -- which held its first meeting in New Delhi on Friday -- to prepare a comprehensive roadmap for energy efficiency and sustainable development.

"Our government plans to undertake a major afforestation programme called Green India for greening six million hectares (15 million hectares) of degraded forest land," the prime minister told the meeting.

Singh said it would be one of the largest such afforestation drives in the world.

India, which contributes around four percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the world's top polluters. But it has resisted growing international pressure to make commitments to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

India, along with China, is not included for targeted emission cuts under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the only global agreement that sets specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Kyoto deal requires industrialised countries to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent by a target of 2008-2012 compared with their 1990 levels.

The panel did not set any targets to limit emissions.

"We should not have any targets. We can set our targets at the national level, but it's too early to say if the council will do that," said environmentalist Sunita Narain, one of the council members.

India blames the industrial nations for the problem, and has in the past called for further commitments from them to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Premier Singh said India would be badly hit because of its dependence of monsoon rains for farming and the Himalayan snow-fed rivers and the country's large coastline.

"Our food security comes largely from irrigated areas of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh whose rivers are fed by glacier melting in the Himalayas," Singh told the panel.

"It's better late than never. With the prime minister at the top, the issue has now acquired political importance," Narain said.

"There was broad agreement among members on cleaner technologies for every sector which ensure high growth and low carbon trajectory," she said.

Prime Minister Singh said the challenge for India was to address climate change along with removing widespread poverty.

India says stricter emission limits on India would slow its economy -- growing at about 9 percent -- and damage its efforts to lift millions out of poverty.

Singh said India had for decades laid stress on hydro and nuclear energy but needed to do more to explore newer ways of green development.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Temmuz 2007, 17:40