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India now worlds 5th biggest polluter

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 12 May 2010

India is the world’s fifth-biggest polluter, a new study confirmed on Tuesday, with its greenhouse gas emissions growing by more than 3 percent annually between 1994 – 2007.

Ganges River pollution

The Asian giant is also suffering from the effects of global warming such as rising temperatures and sea levels along its coasts. The study represents the first update to an assessment of India’s air emissions that was done 16 years ago. More than 80 scientists from 17 institutions across India were involved in the study, said Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister.

The sectors that showed the most significant annual growth in emissions were cement production, 6 percent; electricity generation, 5,6 percent; and transport, 4,5 percent, said the study, which was released by India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests.

India’s per capita carbon dioxide emissions were roughly 1 360 kilograms in 2007, according to the study. That’s small compared to China and the US, with 4 763 kilograms and 19 278 kilograms respectively that year. The study said that the European Union and Russia also have more emissions than India.

Still, pollution is causing India’s environment to erode significantly, the study said, underscoring the need for India to take action. Continuous warming and the changing rainfall pattern “may jeopardise India’s development by adversely impacting the natural resources such as water, forests, coastal zones and mountains on which more than 70 percent of the rural population is dependent,” the study said.

Temperatures in India, which already suffers from economically debilitating heat and drought, could rise by 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (3,6 F to 7,2 F) by 2050, the study said. In addition, the study says, India’s coastal waters have risen between 1,06 and 1,25 millimetres per year over the last four decades, the study said, threatening life along the coasts.

UN scientists says greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide – emitted mostly by burning fossil fuels for electricity and transportation – are causing climate change that threatens potentially catastrophic environmental damage such as floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

A conference in Copenhagen in December failed to reach a new legally binding treaty after two years of UN-sponsored negotiations.

Last week, some 40 nations agreed to take individual steps to fight global warming but made little progress during a three-day meeting near Bonn, Germany, toward a new international climate change treaty.

– Sapa

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