Global temperature rises of 2 to 3 degrees Celsius are predicted in the next 50 years by experts if greenhouse gas emissions are not kept under control. If this happens, scientists agree that a devastating effect on the world's climate would be the end result.
The Kyoto Protocol does not include India at this stage, so the country has no mandate to cut emission levels. But experts say its emissions are rising because of its rapid economic development, and that soon India could become a significant contributor to global warming.
India's environment minister, A. Raja, told his parliament that India's emissions are insignificant compared to those of richer nations. He then suggested that these nations should first take the lead in curbing greenhouse gases.
Raja went on to say, "India is very little in terms of emissions and we are not the biggest polluters when compared to the developed nations … we are not doing any harm to the entire world. We are, in spite of the developmental activities taking place in this country, very categorical that our emissions are below 3 percent, which is within limits."
A survey by the World Bank in May of this year stated that carbon emissions from two of the world's fastest growing economies -- China and India -- had risen steeply over the past decade, and India alone increased carbon dioxide emissions by 33 percent between 1992 and 2002.
But, New Delhi -- India's capitol -- says it must use more energy to lift its population from poverty, and that its per-capita emissions are a fraction of those in rich states that have burned fossil fuels unhindered since the Industrial Revolution. However, according to figures from the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, the top five sources of greenhouse gases worldwide were the United States, China, Russia, India and Japan.