ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has endured a “relentless series of natural calamities ranging from forest fires and heatwaves to unforgiving droughts”- a scenario that necessitates the urgency to respond to the challenges posed by climate change, Sherry Rehman, the Climate Change Minister, said on Thursday.

“The melting glaciers have triggered riverine floods while the catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods have wreaked havoc, ruthlessly swept away bridges and left behind a trail of destruction and despair.

This culminated into a record-breaking catastrophic flood that submerged one-third of the country, impacting 33 million people,” she said in a meeting with a high-level meeting with a delegation led by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, President-designate of COP28 and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology.

“The alarming surges in heatwaves and temperatures observed in 2023, coupled with torrential rains, have triggered floods in the northern regions. Cyclone Biparjoy, the longest-surviving cyclone in the Arabian Sea, has further affected parts of Sindh already reeling from the devastating super flood of 2022, pushing communities into a veritable recovery trap,” she said.

The minister highlighted the numerous initiatives the federal government took in tackling climate stress, including the Green Pakistan Programme, Living Indus Initiative, National Adaptation Plan, GLOF-II, National Clean Air Policy, National Hazardous Waste Management Policy, Single-Use Plastic Prohibition Regulations 2023, and the upcoming Carbon Market Framework.

She said a “critical gap” in resources for adaptation and mitigation has been identified by multilateral agencies -amounting to $348 billion or 10.7 percent of cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030.

Despite this, Pakistan is committed to a green energy transition, whereby it will transfer 60 percent of its energy needs to renewables by 2030 and reduce its projected emissions by 50 percent reduction until 2030, Rehman said.

Pakistan is actively involved in transitioning the country towards the renewable energy sector and is seeking partnerships in the alternative and renewable energy sector, the minister said.

She said the government has introduced a 10-year plan to generate 10,000 megawatts of electricity through solar and wind energy by the year 2031.

Minister Al Jaber stressed on the importance of providing an enabling environment and ample space during the global stocktaking to “steer the world back on the right track.”

He pledged to introduce practical, pragmatic, and results-driven actions that encompass mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and finance.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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