Senate passes climate change bill

Pakistan becomes fifth country in world

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

The Senate on Friday passed the Pakistan Climate Change Bill 2017, making the country the fifth in the world to adopt comprehensive legislation on the issue.
The layout report of Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change was presented by Senator Samina Abid on March 16 in the Senate. The National Assembly has already approved this Act.
The legislation was passed to meet the country’s obligations under international conventions relating to climate change and to address its effects.
Climate Change Minister Zahid Hamid, who introduced the legislation, said that Pakistan ranks 153rd in greenhouse gas emitting countries but is the seventh-most vulnerable to climate change.
“The Pakistan Climate Change Act 2016 has been hammered out to tackle the pressing climate risks and secure global funding for implementing projects to boost country’s climate resilience, protect lives and livelihoods of the people, mainly those associated with agriculture,” he explained. He added that the country is likely to produce four times more greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and would need $40 billion to mitigate the effects
During the debate in the Senate prior to the approval, the move to promulgate the Climate Change Act was appreciated by the opposition, which acknowledged its unprecedented significance.
Senators Sherry Rehman and Azam Swati commented that this law was need of the hour. The federal minister said that as proposed in the law, efforts would be expedited to establish the Pakistan Climate Change Council, which would be chaired by the prime minister.
“The Council will also comprise chief ministers and ministers holding the environment and climate change portfolios of all provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Besides, the advisory body will consist of 30 other members, 20 of them from non-governmental organisations, researchers, scientists, technical experts, and educationists concerned with climate change,” Hamid said.