Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates and called for “renewed international cooperation and partnership” to tackle climate change.
PM Imran Khan, in his letter, dated April 6, states that he read Gates’ book “Avoiding a Climate Disaster” and found it a compelling read.
I found it very interesting as it provides “policy-oriented analyses on the critical issue of climate change challenges confronting the global community”, said the prime minister.
The premier spoke about Pakistan’s efforts in this regard, saying that his government “has already been moving to counter the impact of climate change through various policy initiatives”.
Pakistan ‘on the front lines’, but ‘very low contributor’ to crisis:
He said Pakistan is a country “on the front lines” of the climate emergency as it is ranked high among those “continuously impacted” by climate change over the past two decades.
“The impacts of changing monsoon patterns, freak weather events, melting Himalayan glaciers and sea level rise — all compound our vulnerability,” the letter reads.
It states that despite this fact, Pakistan is a “very low contributor” to global greenhouse gas emissions — adding “less than 1%”.
“However, as a country which is fast developing, we are seeking to tread on climate sensitive economic growth which is contingent upon stronger international cooperation and partnership,” said PM Imran Khan.
He said his government, in this spirit, has therefore “pledged to offer climate solutions to the world focusing on nature-based solutions, towards a climate compatible trajectory of growth”.
On the ground actions to tackle climate change:
PM Imran Khan said that Pakistan, as a signatory to the Paris Agreement, while continues to work with the international community for its implementation, is also focused on translating the country’s own vision into actions on ground.
“After our successful plantation of billion trees in the KP province from 2014-18, we are embarked to plant another 10 Billion Trees across the country, including restoration of over 1 million hectares of degraded forests and expansion of protected areas,” the premier said to Gates.
The Prime Minister said that these initiatives have demonstrated that they do not only protect nature and restore ecosystems to fight climate change, but also expand eco-tourism and create thousands of green jobs for the youth and local communities.
Shift towards clean energy:
He said Pakistan is also committed to shifting towards clean, low carbon energy and plans on moving 60% of the energy to clean sources by 2030.
This will entail “a major expansion of solar, wind and hydro power generation in the country”.
PM Imran Khan said his government recently shelved two coal projects that had already been financially negotiated, replacing them with the inclusion of hydro power plants “demonstrating our solid political commitment”.
“Pakistan is also transitioning its transport sector, targeting 30% of vehicles to be electric by 2030,” he added.
‘Nature not affording us a choice’
The prime minister said Pakistan is being forced to adapt to climate change at the rate its effects are being witnessed.
“On this front, nature is not affording us a choice. We have to invest our stretched economic resources towards establishing early warning systems, fast deployment of climate smart agriculture as well as enhancing the efficiency of our depleting and increasingly unpredictable, freshwater resources,” wrote the premier.
Addressing Gates, PM Imran Khan said that given his high interest in climate change, a “results-oriented dialogue and collaboration between our team of experts can mutually assist to advance our shared vision”.
“This could include developing partnership towards access and deployment of the best available technologies for clean energy and electric vehicles as well as cooperating towards climate resilient agriculture,” said the prime minister.
Referencing Gates’ book on climate change, he said: “As you rightly point out in your book, the challenge of climate change is one which requires wide scaled collaboration, trusted cooperation and a shared green vision for development across countries.”
“I believe that the world has no choice but to tread this pathway and define a new development paradigm for the 21st century through renewed international cooperation and partnership,” PM Imran Khan concluded by saying.