India will reduce emissions in Antarctica, protect environment: Union Minister Jitendra Singh

India has two active research stations: Maitri (commissioned in 1989) at Schirmacher Hills, and Bharati (commissioned in 2012) at Larsemann Hills in Antarctica.

India will reduce emissions in Antarctica, protect environment: Union Minister Jitendra Singh

Map of Antarctica. Representational image. Credit: NOAA

India is committed to curtailing carbon emissions in the Antarctic atmosphere and comprehensive protection of its environment and designation as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Monday.

He was addressing an international conference commemorating the signing of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty in 1991. The treaty which came into force in 1998, designates Antarctica as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science”.

Singh said that India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to curtailing carbon emissions in the Antarctic atmosphere.

India has already adopted the green energy initiative by experimenting with the feasibility of wind energy production and installed moderate output of Wind Energy Generators on an experimental basis, he said.

“The choice of Combined Heat and Power for Bharati station to reduce carbon emissions in the Antarctic also promotes India”s pledge to protect the environment,” said the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.

India has two active research stations: Maitri (commissioned in 1989) at Schirmacher Hills, and Bharati (commissioned in 2012) at Larsemann Hills in Antarctica. The country has successfully launched 40 annual scientific expeditions to Antarctica to date.

Noting that India is looking forward to contributing to the evolving Climate Change Response Work Programme of the Committee for Environmental Protection, he said climate-induced carbon dioxide uptake by polar oceans causing acidification that destroys marine environments and ecosystems, gradually affecting fisheries and propelling disastrous biome shifts is one of the challenges for the next 30 years.

Singh reiterated that India also anticipates tourism growth and illegal unreported and unregulated fishing as potential issues.

India is committed to the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems, and the designation of Antarctica as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science, he said.

The minister said India also reaffirms its commitment to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty and claims to implement all decisions, resolutions and measures adopted at ATCM in the Indian Antarctic programme effectively, use green alternate energy system in both the Indian Antarctic research stations like solar panels and wind energy generators so compromising use of fossil fuel gradually and make station efficient with alternate green energy.

India signed the Antarctic Treaty on August 19, 1983, and soon thereafter received consultative status on September 12, 1983.

The country is one of the 29 Consultative Parties to the Antarctic Treaty. It is also a member of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programme and the Scientific Committee of Antarctica Research.