Dehradun: India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh has stated that India wants a fair and equitable international agreement on the issue of climate change and global warming that does not stifle its developmental aspirations.
Speaking at a regional summit on climate change in the Himalayas here on Sunday, Ramesh, while referring to the forthcoming United Nations Summit on Climate Change scheduled to be held in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, said," India wants a fair and equitable agreement.
There should be no barriers to its own economic growth. We are deeply concerned over the issue of global warming and climate change. The best thing for mitigating the problem is that countries do things on their own. We are doing it and over the next two three months more countries will know what we are doing."
Referring to the issue of increasing the forest cover, particularly in the Himalayan states of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand, the minister said that these states need to be given special incentives for maintaining the forest cover and expressed hope that the central government would respond to the suggestions made by him.
He disclosed that a plan is being worked out to give a green bonus or dividend to states that are maintaining their forest cover and are taking steps to improve it.
Elaborating on the proposed plan, he said," These states would be given financial incentives from the finance and the planning commissions. This would be taken a step further and financial incentives would then be given to local self governments." He said that such incentives are necessary for these states as they are under tremendous economic pressure to do away with forests.
The minister spoke at length on the issue of the health of Himalayan glaciers. He disclosed that a National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology is being set up in Dehradun to study the changes in the Himalayan glaciers.
Ramesh added that the purpose of setting up such an institute is to collaborate with China, Bhutan and maybe Pakistan at a later stage to gather scientific evidence related to the glaciers.
He candidly said," The fact that Himalayan glaciers are receding is beyond doubt. However, what is still to be established is the cause of the recession. "The minister pointed out that while the western school of thought attributes the recession of glaciers to global warming, Indian scientists are of the opinion that there is still not enough...