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Asia not responsible for 'brown haze': India

by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) Nov 21, 2008
India on Friday dismissed as "propaganda" a UN report suggesting the formation of a brown cloud over Asia was due to the burning of fossil fuels by countries in the region.

The UN report earlier this week said enormous brown clouds of pollution hanging over Asia, including India, were killing hundreds of thousands of people, melting glaciers, changing weather patterns and damaging crops.

Traffic, factory emissions and indoor cooking were among the culprits for the "Atmospheric Brown Clouds", which are up to three kilometres (1.8 miles) thick, according the landmark report on the phenomenon.

However, India's Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said, "our scientific community has gone into the issue... there cannot be a brown haze in India because of the pollution levels here."

Noting that greenhouse gas emissions were 1.2 tonnes per capita in India compared with 23 tonnes in the US and 10 tonnes in European countries, Sibal said: "For anybody to say India and China are responsible for this, I can only say we certainly are not."

"The atmosphere knows no territorial boundaries. So the source of the haze might be the increasing levels of pollution because of the great contribution of the western world," Sibal said.

But while per capita emissions are low in India, its huge population puts it among the world's top five greenhouse gas emitters.

"The road to Copenhagen is going to be very tough and this is I think one of the propaganda issues," Sibal said, referring to a climate change conference in Denmark next year to deliberate on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

India, like China, says that having to meet binding emission cuts now will prevent it from bringing its people out of poverty as rich countries have already done on the back of industrial growth fuelled by coal, oil and gas.

Per capita income in India, which has over a 1.1 billion population, hovers at just above 700 dollars.

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NRL's SHIMMER Observes Earth's Highest Clouds
Washington DC (SPX) Nov 20, 2008
The Naval Research Laboratory's Spatial Heterodyne Imager for Mesospheric Radicals (SHIMMER) has successfully observed a second northern season of Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMCs), which are the Earth's highest clouds.

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