Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday expressed hope that the world will take the challenge of climate change more seriously, as he outlined the steps taken by Pakistan on this front and the consequences if immediate measures are not taken to address the problem. warned of.
“I hope we all collectively take this challenge far more seriously than we have ever been,” the premier said while addressing the opening ceremony of the Middle East Green Initiative Summit in Riyadh.
At the beginning of his address, he pointed out that only 10 percent of the world’s countries are responsible for emissions, which cause environmental damage.
“And unfortunately, we (Pakistan) are among the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change,” he said, sharing with other participants that over the past 10 years, the country “has experienced 152 extreme weather events.” had suffered … an economic loss of over $3.8 billion”.
He said that Pakistan’s future climate adaptation costs were estimated at between $6 billion and $14 billion.
“So, we decided that before the world takes any action, we, as a country, must, for our survival, [do] Whatever is within our reach,” he said.
Outlining the decisions taken by his government in this regard, the premier said that the country will shift 60 percent of all its energy production to clean sources by 2030. In addition, the government planned to shift 30 percent of all transportation to electric vehicles by 2030 and the country was committed not to start any new coal projects.
“We have already postponed 2,400 MW coal projects [and] In their place, 3,700 MW of hydroelectric power will be installed.
He said his government has also focused on nature-based initiatives, most notably the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project.
“We have already planted 2.5 billion saplings [trees] “Out of the 10bn target, he said.
The premier further said that the government plans to plant 1 meter more mangroves by 2023 and the green parks in the country have been expanded to 50 pc during the pandemic.
“In the process, we have also provided green jobs – jobs that are related to improving our environment,” he said, adding that 85,000 jobs were created in the sector and that number was expected to grow to 200,000 by next year. .
PM Imran said that his government is also working towards restoration of wetlands.
He shared with the participants that the World Bank had ranked Pakistan as the top country to access development finance for climate-friendly initiatives and the green bonds, blue bonds created by the government for the transition to clean energy. , Nature gave examples of bonds and a mechanism. .
The Prime Minister also highlighted that glaciers are melting rapidly due to climate change and as a result, Pakistan and many other countries are facing water scarcity.
Describing climate change as one of the biggest crises the world is facing today, PM Imran said that the problem was visible 20 years back, but unfortunately, the world failed to realize its effects.
PM Imran meets John Kerry
On the sidelines of the summit. Prime Minister Imran met John Kerry, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and underscored the need to “strengthen the national as well as global thrust [the] According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the existential threat of climate change”.
In a series of tweets, the PMO said the Prime Minister highlighted the climate change priority by his government during the meeting.
“The PM shared his perspective with the Special Envoy on the challenges faced by Pakistan and other developing countries due to climate change, while highlighting Pakistan’s experience in introducing nature-based solutions to address environmental challenges,” [the] Including plant for Pakistan [campaign],” it added.
It said the ongoing cooperation between Pakistan and the US on climate change and environment was reviewed during the meeting.
In addition, PM Imran expressed satisfaction at the recently held inaugural meeting of the “US-Pakistan Climate and Environment Working Group”, which explored potential areas of bilateral Pak-US cooperation on climate action”, according to the PMO.
“Special Envoy Kerry agreed that Pakistan and the US share a long-standing relationship, which should be further strengthened in areas of mutual convergence, including climate and environment,” it added. “He (Kerry) acknowledged the various initiatives taken by Pakistan to fight climate change.”
The PMO said Kerry emphasized the priority accorded by the US administration to the issue of climate change and briefed PM Imran about the various measures taken by the Biden administration to “develop a comprehensive global consensus on climate action for the UNFCCC conference” . parties (COP26), later this month”.
“The PM underlined that Pakistan and the United States must continue to share ideas, expertise and technology to optimize mutually beneficial opportunities in the fight against climate change.”
According to the PMO, the prime minister encouraged Kerry to “explore” further [the] The possibility of increasing bilateral engagement through the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to support investments in climate mitigation, resilience and adaptation in Pakistan and the developing world.
“The Special Envoy acknowledged the enormous potential of cooperation in these areas and expressed his desire to further explore opportunities for bilateral cooperation, including power generation projects from renewable sources,” it said. Next steps in building an effective framework of cooperation in this regard.
The PMO said that the current situation in Afghanistan was also discussed during the meeting.
It said PM Imran underscored the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan to Pakistan and the rest of the region.
“The Prime Minister emphasized the imperative for the international community to work practicably to maintain peace and security, avert a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and prevent economic collapse,” the PMO said. Release of economic resources and financial assets for the welfare of the Afghan people”.