Biodiversity as important to India as climate change: Jairam Ramesh

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh has underlined that Convention on Biodiversity was equally important to India as combating climate change, which tends to hog the limelight.

“Climate change gets the headline, biodiversity does not get the headlines,” Ramesh told PTI as he left New York this weekend after a week of attending environment related meetings, including those with US Climate Change Negotiator Todd Stern and Chinese environment minister Xie Zhenhua.

“One of the purposes of my visit was to reestablish the significance of the importance of the convention on biodiversity so it doesn’t fall by the wayside and get taken over by climate change,” he said yesterday.

The United Nations has found that that the world has already missed the 2010 deadline for biodiversity conservation, with potentially grave consequences, and the number of species facing extinction is growing by the day especially in developing countries.

Pointing out that India will be hosting the biodiversity summit in 2012, Ramesh said: “We have a tremendous interest in the success of Convention on Bio Diversity.” The opening week of the general assembly also held a special session on the challenges that the world was facing in saving its flora and fauna.

“This year is not only the International Year of Biodiversity, it is the deadline by which the international community had pledged to substantially reduce the rate of biodiversity loss,” said secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

“The 2010 target will not be met,” he told world leaders.

“Science tells us that our actions have pushed extinctions to up to one thousand times the natural background rate,” Ban said, adding “The reason is simple: human activities. Yours, mine, everyone’s.” The UN chief said the main causes include deforestation, changes in habitat, land degradation, and the growing impact of climate change that is compounding the problem.

Ramesh wrapped up his visit here with meetings with Stern and Xie where they discussed bilateral issues.

“There is a lot of common interest between the two countries (India and U.S.) in the field of science and technology, particularly as it relates climate change whether it is renewable energy, clean coal or shale gas,” Ramesh said.

Climate ministers and top negotiators from dozens of nations were deadlocked over how to cut greenhouse gases ahead of the next major international climate summit less than three
months away.


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