From: Reuters
Published February 6, 2008 07:22 AM

U.N. urges India to look at clean development scope

By Krittivas Mukherjee

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India, one of the world's worst polluters that faces catastrophic impacts from climate change, must identify areas in its booming economy where clean technology could be used, a top U.N. climate official said on Wednesday.

Yvo de Boer, U.N. executive secretary on climate change, said India will have to reinvent growth without polluting heavily and for that it must immediately make more efficient use of energy.

Contributing around 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, India will be hit with heatwaves, frequent droughts and floods and severe water shortages if it did not bring down its emission levels.

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New Delhi, which is not required under the Kyoto Protocol to cut emissions, says its existing energy policy would cut its climate-warming gas emissions by over 25 percent by 2020.

Boer says that could be possible only if an immediate thrust is put on identifying the scope for clean technology.

"One, identify areas in the economy where clean development mechanisms can be used," de Boer told Reuters. "Two, improve energy efficiency mechanisms."

For instance, he says, India could use renewable energy resources to provide electricity to about 400 million Indians living without power.

Experts say India could use clean technology to build and run power stations, new cities could be designed better and energy-efficient green buildings could be constructed. About 80 percent of India's electricity is produced by burning dirty coal.

De Boer will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and members of India's Planning Commission this week to find out what steps India was taking to fight climate change without impacting its 8-9 percent economic growth.

"We know what the developing countries like India and China don't want or cannot do. Now we want to know what they can do or they want."

Like China, India says it can not be subjected to emission caps as it must burn up fossil fuel to lift millions out of poverty, an argument that the United States says is invalid and cites to stay away from committing to emission targets.

(Editing by Alistair Scrutton)

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