Climate Change Authority on cards to counter environ challenges: Zahid
ISLAMABAD—Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid on Thursday informed the Senate that Climate Change Authority was being set up to effectively face challenges in the wake of global warming and environmental degradation.
Replying to various questions during Question Hour, the minister said that the government was pursuing multipronged strategy including short, medium and long-term measures to meet the challenge of climate change. “We have prepared a national forest policy in coordination with the provinces in order to enhance the forest cover in different parts of the country,” the minister said.
Zahid Hamid said the government has also launched Green Pakistan Project to enhance the forestation adding the government in principally has approved extension in the period of observance of merit, regional and provincial quota for a further period of 20 years from the date of its expiry through a constitutional amendment.
In this regard, he said the bill is in the process of enactment by the Parliament, he added. Replying to another question, the minister said the possible environmental impacts of coalfired plants were identified in their respective Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports which the proponents of these plants have to submit to respective Environmental Protection Agencies (EPAs).
He said environmental approval to establish coal-fired power plants was mandatory requirement under the Federal and Provincial Environmental Acts. The information pertaining to environmental approval of various coal fired plants was being collected from Provincial EPAs and would be provided as soon as received, he said. He said Pakistan has signed/notified Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). To a question, Zahid Hamid said the ‘National Climate Change Policy’ was approved by the Federal Cabinet in September 2012 and officially launched on March 26. The National Climate Change Policy provides a framework for addressing the issues that Pakistan faces or would face in future due to the changing climate.
He said the policy aims to ensure that climate change is mainstreamed in economically and socially vulnerable sectors of the economy and to steer Pakistan towards climate resilient development. He said all power projects being set up as a part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be based on latest technology which would help ease energy crisis in the country.
The Peshawar environmentalists are terming extreme weather events in shape of dust storms and torrential rains as a ‘wake up’ call for giving environment a serious consideration and launching of unified efforts to mitigate hazards of environmental degradation and climate change.
“The extreme event witnessed in shape of severe dust storm on Wednesday killing around 15 persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab region, can reoccur again and again in the prevailing hot summer,” warns Dr. Ghulam Rasool, Director General Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). The severity in storms causing death and destruction is the result of global warming as a result of which extreme events are occurring in different parts of the country, said DG PMD.