Staff Reporter Islamabad
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday called upon the major economies to pursue a holistic approach towards climate change and galvanize supportive finance for Pakistan and other vulnerable countries braving the climatic challenge.
“We expect this to be a moment for the world’s major economies to come forward and galvanize supportive finance for responsible countries like Pakistan, that are doing their best to reduce emissions,” the prime minister wrote in his article published in The Times, a British national daily.
Prime Minister Imran Khan mentioned that the Global Climate Risk index ranked Pakistan as the eighth most vulnerable country to climate impacts with frequency and intensity of climate disasters constantly rising over the decades.
Since 2000, Pakistan has lost 9,989 lives, suffered economic losses worth $3.8 billion and witnessed 152 extreme weather events – all triggered by climate change, he wrote.
He pointed that while Pakistan was not a contributor to this globally changing climate and emitted less than one percent of the global carbon emissions, it was committed to be a part of the global solution by pushing the growing economy on to a “greener, cleaner and low carbon future”.
The prime minister said adapting to climate change remained a challenge, compelling to invest in early warning systems, climate proofing of flood prone infrastructures, establishing cross-country disaster management networks and working with local communities.
He said Pakistan’s climate change expenditure was already hovering menacingly around 6 percent of the annual federal budget, a figure poised to rise further as impacts begin to bite.
“Pakistan’s commitment and all these efforts to address global climate now need to be augmented with supportive climate finance and green investments,’ he said.
He said adapting to inescapable climate change comes with acute economic costs, adding that “With rising impacts, our adaptation finance needs have been estimated at $7-14 billion every year”.
In a situation of human and economic catastrophe of COVID-19, he said, the Glasgow COP26 Summit was critical as it gave a rare opportunity to address these challenges through understanding, collaboration and cooperation.
He recalled that in 2015, an analysis indicated that developing countries would need around $400 billion in climate finance support to shift towards low carbon development pathways.
He regretted that the drop in clean energy transition ironically coincided with the failure of developed countries to deliver the promised $100 billion/year of climate finance by 2020 – a commitment that remains weak on actual deliverance.
“Unless there is a debt relief programme for the global South and enhanced global climate finance leveraging clean investments in these regions, the default fossil fuel powered pathways will remain unchanged and the invaluable opportunity of a clean energy transition will wither away,” he said.