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India to follow China's green lead
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Picking up China's lead on global warming last year, India plans to announce its national policy framework on climate change in June, said the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chairman Rajendra Pachauri.

"It's very encouraging progress to be made by another major developing country following China's similar efforts last year," Pachauri told China Daily during an interview at 2008 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which wound up yesterday.

Similar to China, India is expected to give an overview on its approach to climate change, including commitments to saving energy, controlling emissions and package measures on how to achieve them.

"We have seen much commitment in developing countries such as China, India and Brazil and they should join in the global efforts," said Pachauri.

Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator in China, noted that China had set clear targets for energy saving, the use of renewable energy and spelled out political commitments to achieve its goals.

"The major challenge China still faces is how to get the message down to the grassroots and turn it into every step of action," Malik said yesterday while addressing a plenary discussion on climate change jointly sponsored by his organization and BFA.

Pachauri said existing efforts by developing countries, such as the US, doesn't mean they should start doing less.

"In fact, they should make commitments and take the first steps," Pachauri, whose team won the 2007 Nobel Prize for its contribution to climate change research, said.

Pachauri also touched on the great potential that India and Pakistan would explore in tackling climate change and environment protection.

"This is a very important part of regional and global efforts," he said.

He urged all countries to increase investment in research and technology, with which the world can minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

The world is moving towards a low carbon future and those companies that come up with low-carbon solutions ahead of the others will benefit most, he said. Business groups should focus not only on how to adapt to climate change but also on immediate actions to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Family planning

During a three-day brainstorming panel on how to turn Asia green, political and business elites called on wider advocacy of "family planning" policies to alleviate energy, grain and water shortages, as well as environmental problems.

When responding to China Daily's question on whether he proposed "family planning" policies as a method to tackle climate change, Pachauri said "global coordination" on population control was unlikely and that every country should have a right to decide.

He acknowledged China had contributed significantly to the earth's welfare by successfully curbing its population growth and energy and resource consumption.

If not for the family-planning policy, according to statistics, China today would be straining to feed, clothe and accommodate an estimated extra 300 million to 400 million people - more than the entire population of Western Europe.

He said international resource supplies and the environment would now be suffering significantly more stress if such strains had not been averted.

"But we are not going to put it on our proposal list," Pachauri said. "Every country has its own tradition and culture and we will respect them."

(China Daily April 14, 2008)

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