Climate Change: Challenges and Options for Pakistan
June 2, 2021
“Pakistan is honoured to host World Environment Day and celebrate the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. We are not just playing a victim card on climate front, rather we are formulating nature-based responses in an effort to make nature our ally in this global crisis.” This was stated by the Minister and Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, Honourable Malik Amin Aslam, in a public talk on “Climate Change: Challenges and Options for Pakistan” hosted by the Centre for Strategic Perspectives (CSP) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) under its Distinguished Lecture Series as part of Pakistan’s upcoming Environment Day celebrations.
Mr. Amin Aslam elaborated on all the aspects of climate-related challenges and options for Pakistan. He said that if you keep on pushing nature, it will react. Therefore, it is vital to make nature an ally in this battle. Pakistan is not a big emitter but we are the victims of greenhouse emissions. He identified and elaborated nature-oriented programs that the current government is undertaking in order to mitigated the impact of climate change. These include the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project, construction of new dams, launch of Green Eurobond Scheme, Recharge Pakistan Project, introduction of electric vehicles, and restoration of ecosystems, particularly in national forests and wetland areas. Mr. Aslam said that we will have to factor in the finances in our budget in order to meet the challenges of climate change. He informed the audience that Pakistan is redesigning policies and smart infrastructures and it is not waiting for any external aid to make the country adaptable and resilient in terms of climate crisis. He said that the introduction of the Green Eurobond will add to green credibility of the country’s business profile.
Earlier, in his welcome remarks, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, ISSI noted that climate crisis has become a formidable challenge worldwide. He lauded the efforts and commitment of the present government to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the country. He said that climate change is a global problem, and so is its solution. He was of the view that Pakistan must showcase three capabilities in order to put up a strong front against climate-related challenges: collective responsibility, both in terms of political will and infrastructure; financial burden sharing mechanisms; and policy framework, including forging partnerships with the relevant entities. Furthermore, he observed that climate finances are a tricky situation. Since adaptation to climate change requires a complete overhaul of a nation’s energy profile, it requires financial assistance from big countries, which in the current global financial condition, seems a distant dream. Therefore, we must devise wise and prudent climate policies.
In his vote of thanks, Amb. Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BoG-ISSI, said that climate change presents challenges both at national and international level. He said that the insecurity induced by climate change is expanding whereas adaptation and mitigation steps are not enough. Climate change is a defining issue today and, it is also a defining moment to take action because one should remember that the losses we inflict on nature will, in return, be inflicted upon us.