ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said on Wednesday that Pakistan is among the four countries of the world which were affected the most by climate change.
Addressing National Consultative Workshop titled “The Role of Civil Society in Climate Change”, he said that in the last 20 years, Pakistan suffered a loss of Rs14 billion due to climate change, being the second biggest country to suffer such a big loss due to the issue.
“Every year, due to deadly earthquakes, floods and drought, Pakistan suffers a loss of billions. This amount could have been spent on education, health, poverty alleviation projects,” he regretted.
He further told that only an eight-person delegation visited different world forums and saved an amount of Rs20m while acting upon the austerity measures as directed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
At this month’s UN climate talks in Poland, Pakistan promised to move away from coal investment and ensure climate-resilient growth. This was a departure from the previous government’s preference for fossil fuel energy, and in line with the “green political will” of new Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to his climate change advisor Malik Amin Aslam.
At the COP24 negotiations, Pakistan also became one of the first developing countries to commit to reviewing its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to global climate action before the Paris Agreement starts in 2020. Announcing this at the talks, Aslam, head of Pakistan’s delegation, said the revised NDC would include measures the new government had initiated, which will strengthen Pakistan’s efforts to reduce planet-warming emissions.
Its programmes include the “Billion Tree Tsunami Afforestation Project” that was designed by Aslam and first implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Now the federal government under Khan, who took office in August, has launched a nationwide 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project.
Aslam said Pakistan’s willingness to “develop along a different pathway and become an enabler of the new transition economy” was demonstrated by the $120 million it has spent on planting and protecting trees so far. It plans to use a further $1 billion of its domestic resources to expand forests over the next five years.
Aslam said the current government is also committed to capitalising on Pakistan’s large potential for wind, solar and hydropower, as well as utilising nuclear energy. “More than 365 small run-of-the-river hydro projects have been set up in the north,” he said in his speech at COP24. “In the transport sector, with catalytic Green Climate Fund financing, Pakistan has finalised a multi-million-dollar zero emission bus metro system for the city of Karachi operating on cattle waste-generated biogas,” he added.