Cli­mate Change Author­ity on cards to counter en­v­i­ron chal­lenges: Zahid

Pakistan Observer - - NATIONAL -

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.

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