World must take nature on board before 'climate irreversibility': Pakistan at COP25

PM’s adviser says Pakistan does not have option to escape climate change and its impacts


Rina Saeed Khan December 10, 2019
PM’s adviser says Pakistan does not have option to escape climate change and its impacts. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Pakistan has said that all nations across the globe must try to take the nature on board, allowing it space to bounce back and to tread on a different path of ecologically balanced growth, “before we hit the thresholds of climate irreversibility”.

“Virulent cyclones, rising heat waves, freak floods, melting glaciers and rising sea levels are all vivid and living indicators of not only our failing battle but also of nature’s forceful reply,” Malik Amin Aslam, the Adviser to the PM on Climate Change who is currently heading Pakistan’s delegation to COP25 in Madrid, said on Tuesday.

While giving Pakistan’s statement to the plenary session of the United Nations climate talks, he called upon all countries to negotiate to act and not to further delay action in this connection.

“Our youth is out on the streets and sees the urgency and emergency, our scientists not only see it but have already predicted the abyss facing us and our economies are already draining under the burden of forced adaptation costs,” he maintained.

PHOTO: EXPRESS

Aslam said Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the global greenhouse gas emissions but yet it keeps climbing up the ladder of climate vulnerability. “This places Pakistan on the front lines of an unfolding disaster,” he added.

“Pakistan does not have an option to escape climate change and its impacts. The forced climate adaptation needs to remain at between $7 to $14 billion per annum, thus making climate compatible development an inevitable direction to take and building resilience of our vulnerable communities as well as our infrastructure, an undeniable option.”

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The PM’s adviser on climate change said Pakistan remained committed to raising its ambition for climate action and leading the response in shaping a new future. He said there had been a paradigm shift in Pakistan to position itself to tread on a sustainable development pathway, in line with the spirit of the Paris Agreement.

“Led by our Prime Minister Imran Khan’s green vision and backed with concerted action, Pakistan has been making a shift towards a clean and green Pakistan,” he said.

Aslam said the country had shifted away from having the highest deforestation rate in Asia by successfully planting a billion trees in its northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in four years, thus increasing the provincial forest cover by 6.3%. “We are now starting the 10 billion tree project across the country,” he added.

He said Pakistan had also decided to shift away from polluting transport by initiating its first electric vehicle policy, which is now targeting a 30% shift to electric by 2030.

Earlier this month, Karachi launched the world’s first “zero emissions” metro line – which is also the first transport project to be financed by the international Green Climate Fund.

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The PM’s adviser noted that a “Clean-Green cities index” had also been initiated in 20 cities to trigger a shift towards improved waste management and sanitation. Pakistan had also decided to get out of its “plastic addiction” by banning the single use plastic bags.

“Recharge Pakistan” initiative would effectively manage its water resources – “turning catastrophic floods into an opportunity for recharging aquifers and naturally restoring ecosystems,” said the Pakistani representative.

In order to fulfill its growing energy needs, he said, Pakistan is making a purposeful transition towards renewable energy by targeting a 60% shift towards clean carbon free energy by 2030.

A national committee on carbon markets had been set up to explore market based instruments and Pakistan’s Nationally Determined Contributions document (on the country’s climate actions) is being updated to incorporate all the country-financed activities underway in Pakistan.

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He said Pakistan would soon be launching the “Eco-System Restoration Fund” to facilitate Pakistan’s transition towards climate compatible development through targeted initiatives on afforestation, biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration.

The adviser, earlier in the day, spoke on the minister’s panel at the NDC Partnership pavilion on the work that Pakistan has done already “outside the box of the NDC”. He said he hoped to accelerate and amplify the work by matching projects with more donors for further work within the NDC now.

He said the Pakistan government was “super charged on the environment and had moved faster and quicker than before”. He said for example they would be cleaning up fuel standards by shifting from Euro 2 to Euro 4 in January next year.

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