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‘After US withdrawal, hope rests on G20 countries to enforce Paris Agreement’

‘After US withdrawal, hope rests on G20 countries to enforce Paris Agreement’

ISLAMABAD: The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement has been a setback for Pakistan, as it may no longer receive the share of funding it had expected, Climate Change Minister Zahid Hamid said on Monday.

However, Mr Hamid added that there was hope that other G20 countries would implement the agreement.

“The Obama administration was more focused on the issue of climate change, and that is why it signed the Paris Agreement, which is supposed to allocate $100 billion every year to mitigate issues related to climate change.

“However, the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement is a major setback for Pakistan, as it might not get the share [of funding] is expected,” he said.

We expected Pakistan would receive handsome share of funding to mitigate climate change impact, minister says

“We wish the United States would reconsider its decision by realising its mistake and knowing the importance of the issue,” Mr Hamid said in response to a question from MNA Naeema Kishwar during a meeting of the National Standing Committee on Climate Change.

The Paris Agreement was adopted on Dec 12, 2015, at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, France.

Mr Hamid said according to the agreement, efforts will be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Pakistan is ranked 135th in terms of emission of greenhouse gases but it is the seventh most vulnerable country to climate change. As we wanted to implement the agreement, we signed it immediately,” he said.

“We need $14bn to $15bn a year to adapt to climate change and $40bn for mitigation. Not only have we made a law regarding climate change, a number of projects [have also been] proposed to get maximum benefit from the grant,” he said.

“Donald Trump had already, before the US elections, announced that he would pull out from the Paris Agreement if he became president, so he did it. Now we have been hoping that other G20 countries will implement the agreement.”

The minister added that Pakistan emits 405 million tons of greenhouse gases a year, which will increase to 1,603m tons per year by 2020 because of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects such coal power plants.

“Our climate change policy has identified all the problems and ways to mitigate them. We are going for smart agriculture, so that it is not affected by climate change,” Mr Hamid said.

Committee chairman Dr Hafeezur Rehman Khan Drishak said a number of areas in Pakistan are suffering from floods, which have increasing because of climate change.

“I belong to Rajanpur, and even that area has been affected because of severe floods. Steps should be taken to give timely information to the people about possible floods,” he said.

MNA Nighat Parveen also said the matter of devastating floods, saying a number of areas were affected because of pre-monsoon rainfall.

“I belong to Jhelum and areas near Jhelum were already facing the problem of floods. I believe the situation will worsen during monsoon rains,” she said.

MNA Khalida Mansoor said she has never seen the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) prepared for floods.

“Floods are an issue every year, but awareness is not given to the people. There should also be an early warning system for floods,” she said.

The minister said that although the ministry is trying to tackle climate change at the national level, provinces are responsible for the implementation of policies and for relief activities.

An NDMA representative said the authority was responsible for coordination between departments, rather than taking direct action in case of floods.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2017

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