‘Treat climate change like national security issue’

Published: November 10, 2017
Lawmakers call for responding to crisis apolitically. PHOTO: FILE

Lawmakers call for responding to crisis apolitically. PHOTO: FILE

With Pakistan ranked seventh in the list of countries who are at risk from climate change, some lawmakers have called for declaring climate change a ‘national security issue’ for its devastating effects.

The Global Climate Risk Index 2017, prepared by the environmental watchdog German Watch with support from the German Economic Cooperation and Development ministry, noted that Pakistan had risen to seventh, up from eighth, on its latest long-term climate risk index with a death toll of 504 and a financial loss of $3.82 billion from climate change.

In Islamabad, at a Green Parliamentary Caucus meeting organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with Heinrich Boll Stiftung (HBS) Pakistan, lawmakers came together to discuss the issue.

MNA Malik Uzair Khan, chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Climate Change, said that issues related to climate change should be treated like a national security issue owing to the devastating effects climate change has.

He added that long gone are the days when climate change was considered a ‘future issue’.

“The nation is now facing the real impacts [of climate change] and the unprecedented smog in different parts of the country was only one of its expressions,” Uzair said.

Highlighting the work done by his committee, Uzair said that they were trying to identify legislative gaps which were blocking the implementation of the climate change policy.

Romina Khursheed Alam, a lower-house lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said that all parliamentarians must put aside their differences and join hands in responding to climate change since it was a national obligation.

From the opposition benches, Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Dr Arif Alvi called for strict regulation of industrial waste as well as to protect the natural ecology.

Other parliamentarians including Nafeesa Khattak, Sabhia Nazir and Muhammad Khan Daha, presented an outlook of issues regarding environmental degradation at the local level and demanded strict measures to protect water resources and forests.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2017.

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