The technological scope to make plants adapt to climatic change was presented as a hopeful defensive measure to address the issue of continuous escalation in global warming, in the backdrop of the inevitability of rising human population debilitating the capacity of green cover to absorb carbon dioxide emission, at the inaugural of the four-day International Conference on Climate Change and Bioresource (ICCCB – 2010) at the Bharathidasan University.

Ram Rajasekaran, Director, Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, presented the optimistic perspective to a gathering of delegates comprising scientists, researchers and industry representatives from various parts of India and other countries including Singapore, China, Iran, Korea, Malaysia and Turkey.

There has been progress in genetic engineering of plants to adapt to heat/stress conditions, Dr. Ram said explaining the activities of serine-threonine protein kinases in plants, in his key-note address at the conference organised by the Department of Biotechnology.

Though climate change is a natural phenomena , global warming caused by human inducements like industrial pollution and green house gas emissions have led to melting of glaciers and rise in vector-borne diseases. Climate is determined by temperature and precipitation. The extent of temperature determines life on earth, he said, observing that a rise in temperature by two degree centigrade in the Indian context will cause enormous agricultural losses since 60 per cent of the land is rain-fed.

Dr. Ram received the first copy of the abstract volume on the occasion from Delhi-based Neem Foundation’s Chairman, Ramesh C. Saxena in the presence of Vice-Chancellor M. Ponnavaikko and conference convenor S. Sivaramakrishnan.

Dr. Ramesh said that the earth with a human population of 6.7 billion has a carrying capacity for 10 billion provided the bioresources are used in a sustainable way. He was hopeful of creating an effective impact through the conference that will deliberate on various issues including biodiversity, conventional agriculture to combat climate change, food security implications of climate change, and organic farming.

Citing a finding of the Inter-Government Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Sivaramakrishnan said that carbon dioxide was the major source of pollution and that the global temperature was expected to rise to an extent between 1.4 degree celsius and 5.8 degree celsius by 2100.

The conference will deliberate on recent advances in bioresources and realistic applications for conserving and fostering sustainable bioresource management.

Presiding over, Vice-Chancellor M. Ponnavaikko observed that the earth was slowly dying, referring to the 0.8 increase in temperature for one hundred years from 1906 to 2005. Against the overall average of 0.07 per cent per decade, the average of 0.13 in the last five decades was a distressing scenario. The presence of carbon dioxide in atmosphere has risen from 250 ppm (part per million) in 1750 to 541 ppm at present and was estimated to reach the level of 970 ppm in 2100, he said, emphasising on the need for accelerating the process of expanding green cover.

Department Head A. Ganapathy and A.S. Rao, Professor, also addressed the participants. Over 200 papers focussing on various issues in the management of climate change and management of bioresources are to be presented and discussed during the conference that has been envisaged to evolve strategic plans and policies to preserve and restore completely/partially degraded ecosystems due to climate change.