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When Indian scientist disproved US data on methane emission

india Updated: Oct 18, 2009 22:57 IST
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India's leading agro-scientist AP Mitra had disproved the US government data on emission of methane gas from wet paddy cultivation in the country, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh revealed on Sunday.

"The US government estimated in the early '90s that wet paddy cultivation in Indian fields produced yearly 38 million tonnes of methane gas, which was the second most preponderance for emission of greenhouses gases," Ramesh told reporters here.

The late Mitra, however, challenged the US administration's estimates and found that the emission was four million tonnes per annum on average.

"When the US government released the data, Mitra started monitoring the emission to measure how much of methane was released in the atmosphere. Since then (1998), the US and international bodies started using Mitra's assessment as the correct data," Ramesh recalled.

The Kolkata-born Mitra was the former director-general of the state-run Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) 1986-1991.

Noting that India had to wage its own battle to counter western propaganda on the country's contribution to climate change, Ramesh said knowledge of climate change and its impact on India was derived from western sources, which were biased.

"The reason for western bias is (that) primary monitoring is not done in India. There is an urgent need to overcome this lacuna. For instance, report on melting of the Himalayan glaciers is again based on data compiled on Arctic glaciers, which are different," Ramesh recalled.

In the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change conference in Copenhagen on Dec 7-18, India has begun to have its own mechanism to measure, monitor and model the impact of greenhouse gases and aerosols in the atmospheric region.

The state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch two dedicated satellites to study the impact of climate change through atmospheric research of carbon sink.

The central ministry and ISRO are jointly setting up a national institute of climate and environmental sciences (NICE) to study the impact of climate change and the fallout of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.