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Hotter globe, heat on polluter India

London, Jan. 27: India was named today among some of the world's worst polluters as a separate study warned of temperatures rising between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius in the country because of global warming.

It was ranked 101 in a list of 146 countries ' the higher the number, the worse the polluter. China is at 133.

The Environmental Sustainability Index disclosed these findings at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Scientists at the universities of Yale and Columbia examined indicators such as air quality, biodiversity and efforts to improve the environment and found that Finland, Norway, Uruguay and Sweden have the best records.

It is no surprise that India and China rank high because the numbers reflect their rapidly expanding economies.

In a separate experiment masterminded by Oxford University, it is predicted that global warming could cause temperatures to rise by an average of 11 degrees Celsius across the planet. This would mean the polar ice caps would definitely melt.

The study is based on data gathered by nearly 100,000 home computers across the world, including 131 in India. The idea behind the Oxford experiment is to pool the power of thousands of computers across the world, rather than rely on one supercomputer.

The researchers have come up with a map of the world with projected temperature changes. Africa and Latin America might see catastrophic rises in the 14 degrees plus category.

In a paper published in London today by the scientific journal, Nature, there is a grim warning ' the temperature surges could be much higher than the worst-case scenarios that have so far been drawn up.

Michael Hopkins, the author of the article 'Biggest-ever climate simulation warns temperatures may rise by 11 degrees C', says: 'The greenhouse effect could be far more severe than experts had previously predicted, according to results from the world's biggest climate-modelling study. In the worst-case scenario, doubling carbon dioxide levels compared with pre-industrial times increases global temperatures by an average of more than 11 degrees C.'

'The results are the first from climateprediction.net, a project that harnesses the world's desktop computers to predict climate change,' says Hopkins.

More than 90,000 people have downloaded software that uses the spare capacity of their computers to run global climate simulations as part of the experiment.

Hopkins says: 'The researchers cannot yet put a timescale on the temperature increases, although they suggest that extreme warming could take decades or centuries.'

He quotes Myles Allen, a member of the Oxford team: 'The danger zone is not something in the future. We're in it now.'

The results have come ahead of a gathering of world scientists, including from India, next week to discuss the climate change crisis at a conference here.

R.K. Pachauri, director of the Delhi-based Energy Research Institute, said that in a keynote speech there he would present an analytical basis that could help address the issue of what levels of climate change should be viewed as 'dangerous'.

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