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India Unveils National Plan to Deal With Threat of Global Warming


India has unveiled a national plan to deal with the threat of global warming. India says it plans to focus on renewable energy for sustainable development, but has not made any commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says India will make a gradual shift from using fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy such as solar power.

The prime minister was unveiling a national action plan to deal with the threat of climate change in New Delhi, Monday.

But a member of the prime minister's council on climate change, Sunita Narain, says increasing the use of alternate energies such as solar power will be a tough challenge.

"I think it is important India has made it a center piece of its plan, but I think that is not enough because we will now have to make sure that we can make it happen, and it is not going to be easy," said Narain. "No part of the world has made solar a central part of its energy supply. If you look at the entire world today, solar, wind, geo thermal, are less than one percent of the primary energy supply in the world."

India relies heavily on coal for power generation as it is the abundantly available. The coal-based plants account for a large part of the country's carbon dioxide emissions.

The Prime Minister reiterated India's commitment to ensure that its per-capita emissions of green-house gases do not exceed those of developed nations.

But the new action plan makes no commitment to cutting overall emissions.

Despite mounting international pressure, India has refused to make any specific commitments so far on reducing green-house gas emissions, pointing out that its per-capita emissions are a fraction of those in rich nations.

Prime Minister Singh says that "convergence of per-capita emissions in developed and developing countries" can be the only basis for any global agreement on climate change.

Suntia Narain says India feels developed countries have a larger responsibility to cut emissions.

"We also know that in terms of our development and our growth today, we are already emitting much less emissions than the developed world did at the time it was growing, which means that our energy intensity is lower than theirs at the time of growth," added Narain.

Developed countries say developing nations like India must reduce emissions because it is one of the world's top polluters.

India, a country of one-billion-plus people, says it needs to use more energy to power its growing economy and lift its people out of poverty.