Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that Pakistan was among the countries most at risk due to climate change even though it contributed less than one percent to global carbon emissions.
The premier expressed these views while addressing a special event in Islamabad on green financing innovations. The event was organised by the Ministry of Climate Change as part of World Environment Day, according to Radio Pakistan.
“We are more vulnerable than Bangladesh […] due to the melting of our glaciers,” he said. “It is not our fault. There are giants that contribute to carbon emissions but countries like us face the consequences,” he said, adding that awareness was slowly spreading.
“For the first time in the United States, President Joe Biden’s administration is focusing on climate change. The previous administration was not thinking about environmental degradation.”
PM Imran reiterated that if we wanted to protect future generations from the impact of climate change, it is imperative to take steps to protect the environment, which include making national parks, planting trees and carrying out urban forestry.
“We need to utilise all available resources to increase the number of trees in the country,” he said, adding that China had also developed a green city. “We can learn a lot from China.”
PM Imran lauded that fact that mangroves had increased in the country during the last 20 years despite deforestation. He also said awareness about climate change had increased among the public, especially among school children.
“We need to take this further so that our entire country is focused on ensuring a better future for coming generations.”
Commenting on the concept of “green bonds”, he said that the world was slowly realising the greed with which it had exploited nature. “There were always going to be consequences of that. Thankfully, awareness has increased in the past 10 years.”
He said Pakistan would take the lead in raising awareness about climate change.
“People only started caring about global warming in the past 20 years. Before that when someone used to talk about it, others used to laugh. Even now, in the past three to four years, some developed countries did not take it seriously.”
He said that the California wildfires and Australia bush fires had jolted the global community. Major personalities, like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, had realised that steps were needed to mitigate the challenges of climate change before it was too late, he said.
Green Bonds a Big Success: PM
Earlier this week, the premier formally launched Pakistan’s first green Eurobond by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to meet the financial needs for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams.
Out of nearly $2.2 billion that Wapda needs over five years ($1.1bn in first two years), it is initially raising $500m through the Indus bond. The number of bonds will gradually be increased based on the financial needs of the projects to be funded.
Speaking at the ceremony, PM Imran had said: “Unfortunately, one of Pakistan’s biggest weaknesses is the implementation of projects. In my government I am also seeing that some things lag behind when it comes to implementation.”
“A nation can’t progress if you carry out planning from one election to the next,” he had said, adding that there was a need to invest in the country’s children and to think about where the country was headed.