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India pushes for common responsibility

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India expects a strong agreement at December's United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen for several reasons. First, the country is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change, both those projected to occur within its own territory and those in neighbouring countries. Bangladesh, for instance, with a population of 160 million people is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise. This, along with the growing intensity and frequency of cyclones and other extreme events could result in large numbers of migrants fleeing to India. Equally serious are the problems associated with glaciers melting in the Hindu Kush region. Most of the rivers in northern India originate in these glaciers, and a decline in river flows because of reduced glacial mass would lead to water scarcity for India and its neighbours. Climate change is also likely to directly affect agricultural production, because there is growing evidence that some agricultural crops are seeing a decline in yields due to climate change, most notably wheat crops grown in North India (H. Pathak et al. Field Crops Res. 80, 223–234; 2003). Consequently, India has a vital stake in the stabilization of Earth's climate system.

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