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War of words over glaciers: Jairam calls Gore ‘climate evangelist’

It is another international war of words on the Himalayan glaciers,with the same central theme: whose problem,and responsibility,are the Himalayan glaciers?....

It is another international war of words on the Himalayan glaciers,with the same central theme: whose problem,and responsibility,are the Himalayan glaciers?

Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh is at loggerheads with an article in the prestigious New York Review of Books which suggests that Ramesh and the Indian government are taking the issue of melting glaciers lightly.

Ramesh responded in a letter to the NYRB,saying there should be “less sermonising and sensationalising” on the Himalayan glaciers,calling Al Gore a ‘climate evangelist’,and adding that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was wrong on the glacier issue.

The article by Orville Schell,‘The Message from the Glaciers’,says,“Glaciers are not a national but an international problem,” adding that although India and China had begun to discuss the glacier issue,“Ramesh had also released a report which questioned if glaciers are melting in a precipitious manner in the region”. The lengthy article ends with saying,“There is already enough information for the world to know that we confront a very dangerous prospect,with no adequate effort underway to find the missing link between the knowledge we already have,and action.”

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Ramesh has responded saying,“It is true that the report I released does not present as alarmist a position as the IPCC and other climate evangelists like Al Gore… but the IPCC later retracted its position on the Himalayan glaciers… the Indian Government is very concerned about the impact of climate change on the Himalayan glaciers.” He also cited India’s efforts to set up a new institute to study glaciers,understandings with China and climate action plans in Himalayan states.

Schell,in a reply to Ramesh,said,“One wonders if Ramesh’s call for prudence is responsible. We have an obligation not only to listen,but to formulate sensible courses of action.”

First published on: 26-06-2010 at 11:24:30 pm
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