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'UN report on Indian glaciers sugarcoated'

Dr Pachauri said the findings will send strong signals to India that climate change is due to human activity, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2007 23:02 IST

A new United Nation’s report on climate change predicting faster melting of glaciers, higher rise in sea levels, quicker precipitation changes for India have been termed as 'sugarcoated' findings by some of the Indian scientists.

With the earth’s temperature expected to rise as never reported before, the International Panel on Climate Change report, to be released on Friday, has estimated huge loss of bio-diversity for the developing countries like India because of higher green house emissions.

Speaking to Hindustan Times from Paris, Dr RK Pachauri, chief of IPCC, said the findings would send a strong message for countries like India that climate change impact is taking place and is largely because of human activity.

"The impact will be more visible in Sunderbans in the coming years and in the glaciers. Climate change is impacting everyone but will effect poor population more than the richer ones," he said.

The global report, prepared by 500 lead authors and scientists, also says that India will emerge as one of the major carbon dioxide contributors to global green house emissions if the remedial steps are not taken fast. India’s booming economy and consequent rise in energy consumption are the cause.

The findings of the report have not surprised Indian scientists. "Most of the findings of the report are already known," said Dr Sugata Hazra, head of Department of Oceanography at Jadhavpur University.

His team had recorded submersion of the world’s first habituated island in Sunderbands in 2006. "There are many more islands heading for a similar fate if the sea level rises at the present rate," he said.

Hazra has a slightly different take on sea level rise as predicted in the UN report. “The 60-70 cm rise in seal level predicted by IPCC for the end of 2100 is very moderate and less than its earlier prediction. I believe that seas will rise much more leading to submersion of low lying areas,” he said, admitting of IPCC’s limitation on CO emission data and the pressure from industry and rich countries.

Dr Pauchari’s reaction to criticism of scientists was that it is their choice to accept or reject the findings. “The findings are much more stronger than the existing ones. I also want to assure them (scientists) that the entire process was transparent and open and there was not any kind of pressure,” he said.

The draft assessment report of the IPCC is first validated by 154 nations before adoption at the plenary session. The draft report was send to all nations, including United States, which put the report on its website for comments inviting furious remarks from the scientists. “The governments give their comments which may be accepted or not accepted by the scientists,” he said.

The report not only provides models for possible rise in temperature on earth’s surface and its impact on humanity it also provides solutions for the government to adopt. The last IPCC report was released in 2001.

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First Published: Jan 31, 2007 23:02 IST