UNITED NATIONS, Sep 24 (APP):Pakistan is taking action aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change, Prime Minister Imran Khan told UN’s Climate Action Summit on Monday.
“We are raising our ambition and acting in ways to help lower world Green House Gas numbers,” he said, speaking to dozens of Heads of State and Government, business leaders, and senior representatives from civil society from around the world, who lined up to promise far-reaching steps to beat climate change, at the day-long event, held at the UN’s New York headquarters.
The build-up to the Summit has included the latest scientific report of potentially catastrophic global warming, unprecedented demonstrations for climate action, and a steady drumbeat of pressure from the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who demanded that world leaders come to New York with “bold action and much greater ambition”.
Launching the Summit, he added, “We have had enough talk. This is not a climate negotiation summit. You don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit.”
On his part, PM Imran Khan referred to the success of his government’s “Billion Tree Tsunami” project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and said that now work had begun to plant 10 billion trees across Pakistan in the next four years.
Pakistan, he said, had committed $50 million to an independent “Eco-system Restoration Fund” aimed at conserving biodiversity, generating green jobs, alleviating poverty and energizing the country’s youth to become custodians of a Green future.
“We look forward to support from bilateral and multilateral partners.”
Pakistan’s contribution to global Green House Gases (GHG) was miniscule — less than 1% — yet, the impact of climate change on Pakistan is far greater, the prime minister pointed out.
“Our per-capita emissions are 135th globally, yet we have been among the top ten countries impacted by climate change – triggering 90% of natural disasters over the past two decades”, he said.
“Located at the foothills of Himalayas and Karakoram mountains, we are part of the region with the largest ice-mass outside the poles,” he said, but pointed out that “our glaciers are retreating faster than in any other part of the world.”
The temperature increase in Pakistan, PM Khan said, was about one degree higher than global average.
“As an agrarian country of 210 million people,” he said, “Pakistan faces a clear and present danger from the changing climate especially in terms of water stress and food security.
“We are spending around 8% of our annual budgetary resources to offset these impacts.”
At the global level, the prime minister called for “bold” leadership, saying Pakistan stands ready to play that role.