Rich more responsible for global warming than poor: Minister

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New Delhi, Mar 20 (UNI) The poor might be unaware of the environmental problems, but it is the elite lifestyles and consumption patterns that contribute to global warming across various countries, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Namo Narain Meena told the Rajya Sabha today.

The average CO2 emissions of an individual from the highest income group was 4.5 times than that of the lowest income group, and the wealthy class was just one per cent of the population, the Minister said in a written reply, quoting a Green Peace India Report 'Hiding Behind the Poor' brought out last year.

This report was stated to be based on face-to-face surveys of 819 households from seven different income classes across the four metros, medium and small towns and rural areas for energy consumption patterns.

According to the report, the high carbon intensity of electricity was due to a 67 per cent share of coal (as the major fossil fuel) in the production of electricity.

It recommended that government should revise its electricity generation plans and develop a carbon tax system under which the use of fossil fuels should be taxed.

Mr Meena said the Government was aware of its responsibilities and though as per United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol, the country had no mitigation commitments, it was following a sustainable development path through a range of policies and programmes to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions.

Some of the measures include: ensuring energy conservation and improved energy efficiency in various sectors as well as setting up of Bureau of Energy Efficiency; promoting use of renewable energy; power sector reforms and active renewable energy programme; use of cleaner and lesser carbon intensive fuel for transport; fuel switching to cleaner energy; afforestation and conservation of forests and promotion of clean coal technologies. Lastly, through the regime of differentiated duties and tariffs, superfluous consumption was sought to be curbed.

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