India's environment minister said there was no scientific proof to support the idea that the melting of Himalayan glaciers was being caused by global warming, reports said Tuesday.
"There is no conclusive scientific evidence to link global warming and Himalayan glaciers," business daily Live Mint quoted Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh as saying.
Ramesh released research on Himalayan glaciers in New Delhi on Monday that disputes the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), regarded as the world's top authority on climate change.
The IPCC, a United Nations body, has warned the glaciers are receding faster than in any other part of the world and could "disappear altogether by 2035 if not sooner".
"The health of the Himalayan glaciers is poor, but according to the paper the doomsday prediction of the IPCC and Al Gore is also not correct," Ramesh said, referring to former US vice president and climate campaigner Al Gore.
He admitted some glaciers were receding but the rate was not "historically alarming" as projected by the IPCC, the Hindustan Times daily reported.
"Nothing abnormal is happening to Indian glaciers," said Vijay Kumar Raina, the geologist who authored the research called "Himalayan Glaciers, A state-of-art review of glacial studies, glacial retreat and climate change."
"They're retreating because of negative mass balance. There's no evidence of climate change," he said, according to the Hindustan Times newspaper.
The IPCC has warned that the rivers of the Gangetic Basin, which feed hundreds of millions in northern India, could run dry once glaciers disappear.
But Ramesh denied any such risk existed and backed the findings of the research that looked at 100 years of data gathered by the Geological Survey of India from 25 glaciers.