ISLAMABAD    -   Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul on Thursday said the ministry was working to tap huge energy potential of 12 hill torrents of Dera Ghazi Khan.

Addressing Air University seminar on climate change and Pakistan thinking green for sustainable development under its Air Technology Olympiad 2019, she said an agriculture varsity of Multan had conducted research on the DG Khan’s hill torrents’ potential to generate 12,000 megawatts of electricity.

She said that research work had been submitted to the Planning and Development Division where the ministry had sped up efforts to bring the project on ground.  Zartaj said that three small dams would be built on the hill torrents of DG Khan. The minister was of the view that climate change had an adverse impact on south Punjab. She explained this claim of hers could be substantiated by frequent flash floods in the area due to abrupt rainfalls, decrease in the cotton yield and extreme drought like situation in other parts of the country.

“The women picking cotton in the fields are directly affected due to such environmental degradation,” the minister said, and added, “Although we have no control on our climate, but we can minimize human interventions that contribute to exacerbating the situation.”     

“Therefore, it is a collective responsibility of all members of the society to resolve the issue,” she stressed.

Zartaj told the participants that due to the efforts of 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, rallies were taken out to raise awareness about climate change in all major cities of the world, including Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said, had launched Clean Green Pakistan Movement which was aimed at engaging civil society to make the country environment-friendly and climate change resilient. “Rs 2 billion have been allocated for the Clean Green Pakistan Movement in the current budget,” she informed.

Air University Vice Chancellor Air Vice Marshal (r) Faiz Amir said the seminar was part of the country’s largest Air Technological Olympiad 2019. He said the faculty and students of the varsity were fully aware of the hazards of climate change.

The vice chancellor said that Pakistan was contributing 0.8 percent to the global green house gas (GHG) emissions whereas the giant economies like China was emitting 27 percent, US 14 percent and India 10.6 percent. “The onus to mitigate the risks of climate change lies on the shoulders of the developed world and large contributors whereas Pakistan could only manage and control its emissions,” he opined.

He called upon the developing countries to form an alliance and force the developed countries to help them in overcoming the effects of climate change despite being small contributors to the global environmental degradation.

The government, he said, should focus on energy mix transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy solutions. “It should also need to work on population growth and energy generation. Moreover, awareness about climate change and action at grassroots level should also be made,” he stressed.

A panel discussion, consisting of senior environmentalists, academicians and scientists, elaborated on the challenges faced by the country due to climate change and the way out for shifting from environmentally hostile economy to green economy.