PM calls for national consensus on environment policies

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New Delhi, Aug 15 (UNI) Having unveiled a national action plan on climate change, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called for a national consensus to evolve effective policies to deal with environmental problems.

Reminding the nation about the threat posed by climate change in his Independence Day address here, he warned that ancient Himalayas were under environmental threat and if the Himalayan glaciers receded, the flow of water in Indian rivers would go down.

The economist Prime Minister said climate change could disrupt Indian economy in several ways. "Some of our coastal areas could be submerged. Our monsoon pattern may change." Dr Singh said: "We need long-term solutions to such threats. A national consensus is also required for the government to evolve effective policies to deal with these problems" He said the national action plan on climate change unveiled by his government showed "how each of us must adapt our ways of working and living and how we must treat our natural resources so that our carbon emissions remain within reasonable limits and our environment is protected." India, in its action plan unveiled on June 30, did not set target reduction of greenhouse gas emissions but sought to promote sustainable development through use of clean technologies. However, the plan undertook that India's per capita greenhouse gas emissions would "at no point exceed that of developed countries." The plan will be implemented thorough eight missions which represent multi-pronged, long-term and integrated strategies for achieving key goals in the context of climate change.

The eight missions focus on increasing share of solar energy in the total energy mix; implementation of energy efficiency measures; launching sustainable habitats; effective water resource management; safeguarding Himalyan glacier and mountain eco-system, enhance eco-system services; making agriculture more resilient to climate change and set up a Strategic Knowledge Mission for focussed research in the area.

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