India to assess climate gain, pump millions in forests

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New Delhi, Aug 1 (ANI): Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has said that India would spend 200 million dollars to protect its forests and will announce how much carbon emission is being captured by its green cover.

Talking to reporters here on Friday, he said the money would go into conserving and restoring unique vegetation, controlling forest fires and strengthening forestry infrastructure, among other goals.

"This is a six billion budget for the period of 2007-2012 for the Eleventh Plan period. The main purpose for intensification of the forest management is to improve the infrastructure for better forestry management and the second scheme is called capacity building in the forestry sector... 3.69 billion for the period 2007-2012," he added.

Forestry forms an important part of international negotiations for a new UN climate change deal in December, and India says efforts to conserve and increase forest cover should be considered as vital as reducing deforestation. Forests soak up vast amounts of planet-warming carbon-dioxide and can act as a brake on climate change.

Under an emerging UN scheme called Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), developing nations could potentially earn billions of dollars by setting aside and rehabilitating their forests.

The valuable carbon offsets they earn could be sold to rich nations to help them meet their emissions goals under the scheme that is likely to be part of a broader climate pact from 2013.

On this aspect, Jairam Ramesh confirmed that India would announce on August 10 the results of a study into how much emissions were being captured by India's forests.

"We have for the first time estimated how much of our emission is being captured by the forest cover," he said. (ANI)

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