Mushahidullah calls for action to help developing states meet emission cut pledges at COP23


The News , Bonn, Germany

BONN: Pakistan is already spending 8 percent of its budget to address climate change and would require additional investments of up to USD 14 billion annually to adapt to its impacts, Minister of Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan told the world leaders. 

Threats from climate change including, recurrent floods, heat waves, droughts, desertification, glacial melt and sea level rise, have a huge impact on the Pakistani government’s efforts to reduce poverty, enhance food security, and improve healthcare and access to energy, Khan said at the high-level segment of the annual Conference of Parties 23 (COP 23), in Bonn, Germany. 

Heads of states, ministers and other high-level delegates made their statements as the UN’s premier climate negotiations event, known popularly as COP, draws to a close on Friday. “Nationally, we are already incurring 8% of our budgetary resources to address climate change, creating extreme pressures on our economy,” the minister said, making the case for helping the developing countries meet their pledges to the Paris Accord. He added that Pakistan would require USD 40 billion to achieve a 20 percent reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 – as pledged in its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change last year. 

However, the proposed reduction is subject to the availability of international grants to meet the abatement costs. At the moment, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions are over 400 million tonnes – a minuscule less than one per cent of the total worldwide emissions – but they are expected to quadruple to more than 1,600 million tonnes by 2030. 

Khan said the government is working to implement mitigation efforts in transport, town planning and agriculture sectors as well as the energy sector, which alone contributes about 45 percent to the country’s emissions. “Enhanced [climate] action by developing countries requires enhanced and predictable means of implementation. Securing such levels of climate finance must continue to remain a key priority area,” Khan said. “Continuous progress, delivering on commitments and a bolder approach to financial contributions are necessary.” 

Commenting on Khan’s speech, Mome Saleem, an environmentalist told The News that his statement adequately highlighted the losses that Pakistan is facing from climate change while reiterating the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. She said that it would have been a more impactful speech if the minister had mentioned the human losses that Pakistan has suffered in the climate disasters. 

Aisha Khan, the executive director of the Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change expressed disappointment at the lack of women in Pakistan’s delegation for the talks. According to Aisha, despite the constraints and challenges it is facing, the country is doing the best it can to push for mechanisms to make it possible for developing countries to meet their NDC targets as well as sustainable development goals.