(Jul 13, 2007)

India to plant trees on deforested land

From AP

NEW DELHI (AP) - India, one of the world's biggest polluters, will plant trees on 15 million acres of deforested land, the prime minister said Friday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set a November deadline to create a comprehensive roadmap for energy efficiency and sustainable development. In comments at the first meeting of India's Council on Climate Change, he said the program would formally launch on Aug. 15 _ India's 60th Independence Day.

India, whose economy is growing rapidly, contributes nearly 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions as its fossil fuel use increases.

With annual monsoons and a quarter of its population living near its coasts, the country is seen as being especially vulnerable to climate change. But as a developing nation, India is not required to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol despite mounting pressure from environmental groups and industrialized nations.

The government has pledged to fight climate change as long as the costs are shared fairly, though it says it is not responsible for global warming.

On Friday, Singh told planners that India already has approved more than 660 projects, investing nearly $15 billion. Singh also asked the 21-member council, which comprises government ministers, environmentalists and business executives, to stem the melting of the Himalayan glaciers.

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