National action plan on climate change might be delayed

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi, Jun 19 | Updated: Jun 21 2008, 04:07am hrs
The 22-experts part of the Prime Ministers committee on drafting the countrys national action plan for dealing with adverse impact of climate change is still divided over the approach to be adopted for reduction of green house gas reduction. The action plan, which was supposed to be unveiled by the end of this month might be delayed.

According to sources, the bone of contention is ways of means of adopting green technology particularly by mining, thermal power and cement industry without compromising on the economic growth.

On one hand one group of experts have been insisting that the country should put in place a comprehensive mitigation strategy for reduction in carbon emission while the other group is pitching for a adaptation strategy by the industry to be in place first.

Although under the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012) ratified under the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC), the country does not have a legal or binding obligation to reduce carbon emission, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has constituted the committee so that national level missions for use of solar energy, national solid waste management plan, afforestation, water conservation mission could be initiated at the earliest.

Sources said that while the country is losing more than 20,000 hectares of land annually due to industrialisation, urbanisation and mining, any effort to expand green cover require land and technology.

According to Central Electricity Authority, 64% of the countrys installed capacity of power is thermal while hydel contribute 25.5% and nuclear about 3%. The contribution of Renewable energy is only 7.5%.

While the government proposes to increase installed capacity from 1,36,000 mega watt at present to 8,00,000 mega watt by 2031-32. the dependence on coal remains inevitable. Its not easy for a country like India to adopt renewable energy instead of coal based energy as involves huge investment and cost, a senior government official told FE.

While the actual data on Indias greenhouse emissions is yet to be compiled, the present data goes back to 1994. In 1994, per capita emission were just 0.87 tonne per person per year which according to an estimate has increased to 1.1 tonnes per person which still very low compared to developed countries. The US emits roughly 20 tonnes green house gas compared to 4 tonnes by China.

The official said that India does not want to bind itself with any commitment to cut down on the emissions, which has been contributed by the developed nations. Indias stand in international negotiations is based on the principle of the polluter pays, Shyam Saran, Special Envoy of Prime Minister had recently stated.

Meanwhile, US President George W Bush recently said that any binding emission targets to tackle the pressing issue of climate change facing the world would have to include India and China to be workable.

The national action plan on climate change assume importance as the country does not want to take the burden of cutting down emissions without sacrificing their growth which entailed increase in carbon emissions.

While addressing the G8+G5 Summit in Germany, last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that while Indias carbon emissions may rise in the short and medium term, but per capita carbon emissions would not, at any time, exceed the average of the developed countries per capita emissions.