Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment and Forests, said on Saturday that about 11 percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is being absorbed by the country's forests.
According to the World Resources Institute, India's total GHG emissions stood at 1,853 million metric tons equivalent of carbon dioxide, about 4.9 percent of global emissions in 2005.
During the release of a report in the capital by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), Ramesh spoke about the contribution of Indian forests in soaking the annual carbon dioxide gas emissions.
"We have just recently two weeks ago released a report for the first time which quantified what is the carbon sequestration that is taking place through our forest cover. Our estimators said that about 11 per cent of our annual greenhouse emission is being absorbed by our forest such as, as it is, about 21 per cent of our geographical areas is about 65 million hectares, " said Jairam Ramesh.
India aims at expanding its forest cover by another six million hectares over the next six years.
"I am sure if we improve the quality of our forest cover, reduce the proportion of degraded forest, increase the proportion of medium and high density forest, this 11 per cent could in fact even increase," added Ramesh.
As per a new report, the country contributes around five percent to global carbon dioxide emissions and is still only about a quarter of the emissions of China and the United States.
India's per capita emissions at only one-twentieth of the United States and about one-tenth of Western Europe and Japan, the report says.