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Monday, September 7, 2009

Agreement to combat global warming through reforestation

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There is no other way for all who share this planet except joining hands, forming expert working groups, sharing information and starting integrated efforts for combating global problems of environment. The recent agreement between India and China to form joint working groups to combat global warming through reforestation is one positive sign in this direction.

India and China are preparing to sign a deal sometimes in October 2009 which is to form a part of “ a larger framework agreement on environmental research between the China Academy of Sciences and the Indian Government’s Department of Science and Technology.” It will be through this agreement that India will get access to research on Tibet’s glaciers. It is important to note that Tibetan glaciers are sources of many Indian rivers. Hence the condition of melting of Tibetan glaciers is an urgent matter of research in view of averting more adverse conditions that may follow in near future.

China is carrying out massive afforestation and reforestation programmes in view of not only improving its local ecology but as a way to contribute its share in mitigating the impact of climate change. The agreement between India and China is reportedly oriented towards joint exploration of ways to expand the sink potential for carbon capture of forests and to make better the afforestation management using satellite technology to measure and monitor the efficiency of afforestation projects. It is reported that China in raising its forest cover at a rate of 4 million hectares per year while India is raising its forest cover at a much slow rate of one million hectares per year. Thus India has to raise its forest cover in a much faster speed to join hands with China in terms of raising carbon sink to combat global warming. It is reported that the joint working group which is to meet further in November will also have to explore the issues of poaching and wildlife trade across the borders. It was during the previous meeting that China asked India to do more to clamp down on the poaching of Tibetan antelopes in response to the statement of Indian officials that asked China to cooperate more in clamping down on the trade in tiger body parts. The Chinese officials expressed that they felt the same way regarding Tibetan antelopes, as India does on tigers.

Where food security and fight for hunger are national subjects, environmental security is more an International subject. Increasing global warming due to deforestation and other such events prevalent in a country is an International subject, hence reduction of emissions, checking of deforestation, controlling poaching and hunting and carrying out reforestation programmes should also be considered as international subjects for whom the world should come closer to chalk out programmes and to do best possible through joint efforts.

In doing well to the environment and solving the global issues connected to it should not be on conditions of exchange as China has indicated to stop encouraging trade in tiger body parts if India stands fast and checks the poaching of Chiru, the Tibetan antelope. Trade in the body parts of tiger, Tibetian antelope or other animals is a bad, dangerous and rather suicidal practice and the whole world should come closer to formulate joint plans and to implement the plans through joint efforts to stop any and every one of such practice.

The Indian tiger(Endangered)

It is not that India is encouraging trade in the body parts or hair of the antelope nor is it sitting idle on this issue. India is the country, I cannot authentically say that it is the first, where a lady politician and wildlife activist Maneka Gandhi had reportedly put immense moral pressure on a noted politician to leave wearing a cap made of animal fur, and the politician replaced his cap of animal fur by a cap of synthetic fibers. Whenever a crime pertaining to wildlife is done or even initiated in any part of the country, some or the other out of Indian citizens’ stand fast against it and the law takes its course as soon as possible. Love for nature in general and for wildlife in particular is deeply enshrined in the Indian culture, traditions and also in its constitution.

The Tibetan antelope (Endangered)

As regards the Tibetan antelope ( Chiru), India has already done a lot to stop the illegal trade in its body parts and still the government along with a number of NGOs is on its way towards the same direction. It is again not that India is encouraging any business connected to the animal. The country is doing its best, as for as reports reveal, while remaining within its laws and constitution, to stop the killing of the innocent animal. Thus China’s point that it would stop illegal trade in the body parts of tigers, (which is reportedly going on in full swing under the nose of the government there, that too for making medicines without any valid medical / scientific base) only when India stops the killing of the Tibetan antelope (who so ever is doing this hateful work) is irrelevant. Yes. India is and India will do its best as it has already been doing in its own style. Hence, very gracefully, China must do the needful taking the protection of wildlife as a world religion.

Since the illegal trade in tiger body parts is routed to China through Nepal and Myanmar, Indian officials have requested China to cooperate in clamping down on the trade in tiger bones. As China responded to Jairam Ramesh, the sincere and hardworking Union Minister for Environment and Forest, that India too should cooperate in clamping down the illegal trade in the body parts of Tibetan antelope should not have been an exchange offer, as India is already on its way in the right direction. Since the issue related to illegal poaching (poaching is always illegal and unethical) and killing of wild animals are international issues, nations must come closer for joint ventures to eradicate environmental problems. There is no solution in understanding that “I will stop throwing garbage at your doorstep only when you stop someone in my neighborhood from producing high pitched sound through his audio systems”. Here both the parties should do well more on ethical basis, and in logical fashion and not on an exchange basis. Since, the production of high pitched sound is not desirable it should be stopped through joint efforts of all the residents. It is always unethical and illogical for someone to throw garbage at the other’s doorstep.

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