New Delhi: India will press for a global fund to help developing countries increase their forest cover—as part of efforts to combat climate change—at a crucial meet to be held in Norway next month, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said.
Green push: Environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh will be attending the 29 May meeting in Norway to press for REDD-plus. Kamal Kishiore / PTI
The country is unlikely to benefit from a $3.5 billion (around Rs15,785 crore) fund being mobilized for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, also known as REDD.
The fund, announced at a December meet on climate change in Copenhagen, will benefit countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, Gabon and Papua New Guinea, which have tropical forests and suffer from high rates of deforestation.
But non-tropical developing nations such as India and China argue that funds should be available to them too to increase forest cover, also called REDD-plus.
“I will be going for the meeting to Norway to fight for REDD-plus,” Ramesh said. The meeting will be held at Oslo on 29 May.
The government intends to afforest 600,000ha under the green India mission, part of a national action plan on climate change.
A senior government official said that India will argue for its share of the global corpus as REDD-plus. “Even if we don’t expect any money, the idea should be included in principle in the discussion,” he said on condition of anonymity.
Climate change experts say India is unlikely to succeed in getting the funds due to lack of knowledge on how to measure reduction in emissions to create a baseline against which progress can be assessed.
“If you take the plus component, which is sustainable management of forests and increasing stock, very little information is available on techniques, compared to REDD, which has seen a lot of research,” said N.H. Ravindranath, chairman of Centre for Sustainable Technologies at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. “India has taken a lead to push REDD-plus component but very little research has been done,” he said. “No funding is likely simply because no one has taken it seriously and all funds are focused on REDD.”