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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK
India, China under pressure at G8
By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Delhi

Gas emissions
Reducing global warming is likely to be high on the G8 agenda
India and China are coming under increasing pressure to sign up to a mandatory limit on greenhouse gas emissions at the G8 summit in Germany.

Tackling climate change is set to be the main focus of the annual summit of the world's major industrial nations.

India says it is committed to combating climate change, but will not do so at the cost of its economic development.

India and China's participation in the summit for the past three years is a sign of their growing economic clout.

'Historical responsibilities'

With the issue of climate change expected to take centre stage at this year's meeting, India, which is one of the world's leading polluters, says it recognises the threat of climate change.

Once our per capita emission levels reach the same as those of the industrialised countries, we'll be very happy to do our share too
Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon

But, India says it cannot take steps which will retard its economic growth which is the only way to deliver the vast majority of its people from poverty.

Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon says it is unfair to target India when the problem of global warming has been created by the industrialised countries.

"I think what is important is that the burden of the incremental costs of doing additional steps must be shared fairly and the principal of that is well-known, it's agreed," Mr Menon said.

"The fact is, historical responsibilities, even in terms of present emission levels - it's quite clear who's responsible for this.

Ganges in Varanasi
If the Ganges flow drops, millions could struggle to find drinking water

"Once our per capita emission levels reach the same as those of the industrialised countries, we'll be very happy to do our share too."

A recent report by environmental experts has warned that India will be one of the countries worst affected by climate change, and could face widespread famine and drought.

This will affect its food production and cause large-scale devastation, the report says.

But given the sheer size of the population and the rate at which India is growing, experts warn that any global agreement on climate change would be meaningless without the country's unconditional participation.

The G8 is made up of the United States, Russia, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Canada and Italy.

As well as India and China, developing countries such as Brazil, Mexico and South Africa are also participating in this year's meeting.

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