Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Allaying fears that India had diluted its stand on the climate change at the recently concluded G8 meeting in Rome by accepting carbon emission caps, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran said on Thursday that there was nothing in the declaration to suggest this.

India’s position remained unchanged and the lead in checking emissions had to be taken by the developed countries, Mr. Saran said at a Consultative Dialogue on “India’s Climate Responsive Roadmap for Development,” organised by Oneworld Foundation India.

India, he said, would do whatever it could within the limitations of the available resources. “There can be no contradiction between poverty alleviation, economic and social development and climate change.” India was committed to an “ecologically sustainable growth path.”

Mr. Saran said India’s economy was growing at 8 to 9 per cent annually while the energy consumption was less than 4 per cent. The National Action Plan on Climate Change focused on renewable sources of energy and a solar energy document was also finalised. There would also be a massive increase in the forest cover from 22 per cent now to 33 per cent. An additional 6 million hectare of degraded forest would be revived and this would act as a carbon sink, he said.

Hoping for a “comprehensive, balanced and equitable” outcome at the upcoming Copenhagen meet, Mr. Saran said the outcome should satisfy the world and be relevant to the people. While adaptation was a great challenge for a country like India, mitigation, finance and technology were the four components that were to be addressed. “We need technological and financial support from the developed countries,” he said while hoping that these challenges would be overcome by the time Copenhagen happened. “We are making a slow progress, but we are moving towards an understanding.”

Appreciating the role of The Hindu in highlighting the traditional methods of farming adopted across the country, Mr. Saran said these could be encouraged for replication.