Indian Environment Minister say more to learn from China

21:37, May 07, 2010      

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Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh hailed cooperation on climate change with China before going to Beijing for International Cooperation Conference on Green Economy and Climate Change to be held on May 7-9.

In an interview with Xinhua, he said that India is making efforts in three areas to combat climate change.

First is forest which cover 21 percent of India, and Indian studies shows that around 10 percent of India's annual carbon emissions are being absorbed by forest, therefore India are trying to improve the quantity and quality of forest.

The second challenge is to improve India's efficiency of power production, because about 60 to 65 percent of India's power comes from coal based power, so India need to develop new clean energy.

The third, all the automobile that are put into markets need to have higher fuel efficiency standards so that the contribution of the transportation sector to green house gas emissions does not increase.

As he was also Minister of State for Commerce and Power, conflicts between Environment Ministry and Commerce Ministry for environment clearance of projects are making headlines.

Ramesh said "a lot of people think environment clearance adds to the time of the projects. But I am saying no, you cannot have important industrial projects going without looking at environment. " He took China's environment issues such as lead poisoning, water and air pollution as example, pointing out that bad environment leads to bad public health. "These are the issues that I am trying to improve," he said.

"There are some people who think that we should have fast economic growth, that we should be like China, we should do a 10 percent, we should just grow, but I am saying no, let us grow in an environmentally friendly manner, otherwise we will have many troubles that we are not able to resolve yet."

While his bravery and insistence are praised by many and he was applauded as an invaluable asset to India, he pointed out that "Many people think environment is luxury and cost, but actually it is not. If economic growth is going to pollute water, air, destroy forest, we are destroying natural resources. Public health and individuals are going to be badly affected. This is what I am trying to get people to realize."

He said that China is doing very well in combating climate change, becoming a leader in the green economy, solar energy, wind energy and forest.

"Chinese do not talk as much as Indians, but Chinese perform better, they do much more. I am full of admiration for the way that China just gets to work, where as you know, India talk and talk and keep on talking."

On the scope for cooperation between the two countries on climate change, he noted that India has cooperated very closely with China. "I have been to China three times in the last six months, I am going again in May, so in seven months time I will have done four visits to China." He said India and China had a memorandum of understanding on partnership in the field of climate change, and the two countries are exploring opportunities for working together in the field of environment. A delegation from Indian Environment Ministry has gone to China to study possible cooperation in forest areas.

"I have talked with Chinese vice primer Hui Liangyu how we can learn from China's forest management. China has announced some targets, India has announced some targets, how do we accord, how do we partner each other. I think India has more to learn from China than China to learn from India. We are hoping that these joint programs will build a new relationship between our two countries."

"India and China, by working together in the fields of climate change, are demonstrating not only cooperation in environment, but also sending a message of partnership between the countries. I see climate change as an opportunity to change the political climate between China and India." he said.

Source: Xinhua


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