India is the only country in the G-20 forum implementing the Paris accord commitments on renewable energy and afforestation, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Replying to supplementary queries during the Question Hour, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said there has been a net increase of 15,000 square kilometres of tree cover in the last six years.
He said the pace is likely to increase as the central government has distributed Rs 48,000 crore to states last year with the direction that 80 per cent of the money be spent on afforestation.
''India is the only G-20 country which is implementing the Paris commitments given through our nationally determined contributions, be it renewable energy, be it reducing (emission) intensity as well as creating more forest area. On all three commitments, we are much ahead than any other country,'' he told the House.
Javadekar said several steps taken to increase afforestation both at central and state levels, besides green India and horticulture missions, will help give a boost to increasing the forest cover in the country.
He said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has carried out an analysis of observed monsoon rainfall variability and changes in 29 states and union territories based on 30-year (1989- 2018) data during the southwest monsoon season.
Although there is inter-annual variability, he said, the total precipitation during the Indian summer monsoon has remained largely stable over the period 1901-2019 and has shown a weak decreasing trend during the recent few decades.
''Five states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Meghalaya, and Nagaland — have shown significant decreasing trends in southwest monsoon rainfall during the recent 30 years period (1989-2018), as per the IMD report,'' he said.
The annual rainfall over these five states along with the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh also shows significant decreasing trends, the minister added.
''All changes cannot be linked to only climate change,'' he, however, said.
On climate change, Javadekar said in written reply to a question that according to a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the average global temperature for 2015-2019 is currently estimated to be 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial (1850-1900).
''According to the MoES, the surface air temperature over India has risen by about 0.7 °C during 1901–2018 which is accompanied with an increase in atmospheric moisture content. The sea surface temperatures in the tropical Indian Ocean have also increased by about 1 °C during 1951–2015. On an average, at present, the sea level along the Indian coast is estimated to be rising at about 1.7 mm/year,'' he said in his reply.