ISLAMABAD     -   Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Friday said that climate change was increasing day by day due to less attention being paid by the developed world on the issue. 

Addressing the Climate Action March near the National Press Club, he said Pakistan was emitting less than one percent of the Carbon Dioxide globally, but still was facing adverse impact of the climate change.

He said, “The purpose of this march is to create awareness among masses about the effects of climate change and draw attention of the developed countries, responsible for increased emissions and environmental degradation, to play their role in preserving the world.”

Aslam said he had been part of the negotiations on climate change for the past 15 years during which scientists concluded after detailed studies that the world had only 12 years to mitigate the risks of climate change.

“Pakistan is most vulnerable to climate change as 2010 super floods affected 1.6 million people and caused economic loss of Rs10 billion to the country,” he said, and added recent heatwaves in Karachi killed 1200 people.

He referred to recent news bulletins predicting another heatwave in the upcoming days.

He said, “All these natural disasters are enough to make the world realise the country’s vulnerability to the hazards of climate change.”

Unfortunately, he said, there was no action being taken internationally as the foreign governments had turned a blind eye to the most pressing issue.

“The environmentalists and activists across the world have started a greater movement to mobilize the youth and they have taken stand to make the governments realize their responsibility to reverse the effects of climate change,” he added.

He referred to the interview given by a young environmental activist from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, at the United Nations General Assembly wherein she had said, “We need nature to save nature by growing more trees and reducing carbon emissions.”

The adviser to the PM said Pakistan had planted one billion trees from its own resources and would plant 10 billion more trees in the next four years which is the vision of PTI government.

“The government has categorically decided to plant trees and shift the country’s energy mix to renewable energy by 20 percent. However, Ecosystem Restoration Fund of $250 million has been created to finance ecology restoration projects,” he informed.

Aslam further said, “We demand the developed countries, badly affecting the climate of Pakistan through their emissions, to give $100 billion, not being released under the Paris Agreement’, to help the underdeveloped countries to mitigate climate change risks.”

Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul, while addressing the march

said, “BBC’s report has claimed that 60 percent of Pakistanis do not know about

climate change. However, this march speaks in volumes for the level of public awareness about the growing threat to the existence of world.”

Pakistan, the minister said, was a responsible country and had taken concrete steps to lessen the effects of climate change despite limited resources. “There are countries and companies responsible for polluting environment and hence owe the responsibility to help the developing countries to overcome this issue,” Zartaj asserted.

Participants of the march, on the occasion, presented their demands to the minister in order to reduce the level of environmental degradation and climate change impact in the region.

She said “I, on behalf of the government, promise to the climate change activists that the government will introduce an integrated solid waste management system in the federal capital, renewable energy solutions and cut fossil fuels share in energy. We have banned plastic bags in the federal capital and will extend the ban to the entire country.” Zartaj further said the PTI government had launched 10 billion trees tsunami project after coming to power and had made commitment to the nation that it would preserve country’s forests and ecology.

“Ministry of Climate Change initiated WASH, GLOF and 10 billion trees tsunami programmes, which would be completed at all costs,” she expressed the resolve.

The climate change activists and environmentalists marched in 34 cities of the country on Friday. Students and people from all walks of life participated to highlight the urgency of the issue of climate change.

The participants also staged a 10-minute die-in to show solidarity with the people dying due to climate change and chanted slogans, “Our earth, our responsibility”.