UN chief Antonio Guterres on Saturday urged world leaders to declare a “state of climate emergency” and shape greener growth after the coronavirus pandemic, as he opened a summit marking five years since the landmark Paris Agreement. The Climate Ambition Summit, being held online, comes as the United Nations warns current commitments to tackle rises in global temperatures are inadequate.
Pakistan has recently made swift progress on the environmental front and built up on previous successes such as billion tree tsunami and early completion of UN sustainable development’s goal.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on 11 November 2020 (Saturday) vowed to produce 60 per cent clean energy through renewable resources by the year 2030 and announced plans to switch 30 percent of the country’s vehicles to electric. “I assure you that Pakistan will be doing its best to make its contribution to mitigate the effects of climate change and run 30 percent of its vehicles on electricity,” PM Imran Khan told the Climate Ambition Summit to mark the fifth anniversary of the signing of the landmark Paris Agreement, ARY News reported.
Prime Minister Imran Khan told the United Nations’ climate change summit that Pakistan eyes 60% clean energy by 2030, in its bid to mitigate the effects of climate change. “Pakistan is the country whose contribution to global emission is less than 1%, yet and sadly, we are the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change,” PM Imran Khan said. The prime minister, explaining what Pakistan had decided to do about climate change, said that the country has decided to opt for “nature-based solutions” to mitigate the effects. He said that firstly, Pakistan will plant 10 billion trees in the next three years, according to Geo News.
“Secondly, we have increased the number of national parks and protected areas from 30 to 45,” he added. “At the same time, we have decided that we will not have any more power based on coal [burning]. We have already scrapped two coal power projects, which were supposed to produce 2,600 megawatts of energy and replaced it with hydro-electricity. We will produce energy either by coal to liquid or coal to gas so that we do not have to burn coal to produce energy,” he explained, Dawn News stated.
UK Ambassador to Pakistan praised PM Imran Khan’s initiatives and wrote in a column; Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to those leaders to set out Pakistan’s commitment and leadership on nature-based solutions. But then he went further and took the bold step of announcing a moratorium on new coal power plants. This ground-breaking commitment from Pakistan was a powerful message to other countries. It shows the world there does not need to be a choice between economic growth and protecting the environment for future generations.
UN had selected PM Imran Khan to speak at the Global Ambition Summit due to his environment-friendly policies. His speech will be of 4-5 minutes. He is among the top 10 world leaders to speak at the UN Summit. Earlier, the United Kingdom was set to host the summit in November 2020 in Glasgow but the event was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Later, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres and Johnson announced to co-host the event on December 12, as per Global Village Space.
Protection of the environment was a major pillar of PTI’s election manifesto in the 2018 elections. It had already made good on this promise by initiating the Billion Tree Tsunami project in its ruled KPK province. Thus the continuation of environmental friendly policies is a logical part of policy in its stint as Federal government. These policies are not only beneficial in environmental aspects but will also be an economic boon in the long term. Phasing out of fossil fuels through increasing the percentage of electric cars and renewable energy will help lessen the oil bill and spur growth in the local industry. It seems PTI is working on its campaign promise to turn Pakistan into a “Green Superpower”.
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