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UK helps India tackle climate change

A joint study will help the country's policymakers address climate change issues and carbon emissions.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2006 18:35 IST

A study conducted jointly by Indian and British scientists will help the country's policymakers address climate change issues and carbon emissions in coastal ecosystems like Tamil Nadu.

Britain's National Environmental Research Council provided 275,000 pounds for the study on "climate change and coastal zones" by the Institute for Ocean Management of Anna University in Chennai and the School of Marine Sciences and Technology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

R Ramesh, the director of the Institute for Ocean Management who led the Indian research team along with S Ramachandran, said the study had already yielded some interesting facts.

"We found emissions at the mouth of the Adyar river, which flows into the sea in Chennai, to be much higher than further south along the coast. The garbage dumped in the river emitted more carbon," Ramesh told a news agency.

RC Upstill-Goddard of the University of Newcastle explained: "The (tropical countries) will become major emitters (of greenhouse gases) because of anthropogenic pressures.

"It is, therefore, essential to get a huge database for countries like India."

India has a 7,500-km coastline and is one of 27 countries identified by the United Nations Environment Programme where the rising sea levels will submerge densely populated low-lying areas.

There will be a three-degree Celsius change in the global mean temperature by 2100 due to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The 1999 cyclone and the 2004 tsunami are examples of climatic impacts on nations, say experts.

Upstill-Goddard said: "Coastal mangroves are important to check greenhouse gases through the natural process. However, aquaculture and agriculture, especially the use of fertiliser, contribute much more to nitrous oxide and methane emissions.

"We need to understand the natural process to develop a global model for controlling emissions and start thinking of remedies."

Eunice Cook, the British Council's regional director in Chennai, said: "Major consequences of climate change will be flooding, species extinction, spread of infectious diseases and decline in agricultural yields in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

"Therefore the theme of this study is very significant."

The study was discussed at a seminar organised in Chennai as part of a two-week campaign by the British government to take up climate change as a major science focus in 60 countries in 2006.

On Saturday, the British Council, Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy and Chennai-based CPR Environmental Education Centre also started a project on "Biodiversity conservation through capacity building".

The project, which runs till 2007, is funded by Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Global Opportunities Fund and aims to sensitise magistrates and NGOs about biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

First Published: Jan 30, 2006 10:03 IST