KARACHI: A representative body of foreign investors in Pakistan on Tuesday announced its decision to organize a climate conference next month to help the country devise a viable national strategy to deal with environmental challenges.
Pakistan is highly vulnerable to climate disasters, though it only contributes about one percent to global greenhouse gas emissions.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report in which it estimated that the country had suffered $22 billion in the last two decades due to extreme temperatures, fluctuating precipitation levels and other climate shocks.
The report counted Pakistan among 10 countries that have paid a huge price due to climate change since 2000.
In view of the situation, the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has decided to organize “Pakistan Climate Conference 2022” to build on last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) organized by Britain in Glasgow.
“The event is meant to formulate a comprehensive plan for the government,” the chamber’s president Ghias Khan told a news conference in Karachi while adding the conference would take place on March 16, 2022.
“Pakistan’s contribution to climate change is negligible,” he continued. “Yet, it is the fifth most vulnerable country to climate hazards. It is our major responsibility to come up with solutions to the problem along with the rest of the world.”
Khan said the conference would identify and promote positive climate actions to mitigate the impact of extreme weather changes on Pakistan.
He informed the event would bring together global climate experts, policy makers and corporate decision-makers to share learnings and best practices to help Pakistan develop necessary policy and climate interventions.
Khan maintained the Pakistan Climate Conference aimed to initiate a dialog related to several critical areas to help the country meet its nationally determined commitments at COP26.
These commitments include cutting down projected emissions to 50 percent and achieve 60 percent renewable energy by 2030.
In addition to that, Pakistan has also decided to work on clean transportation by bringing 30 percent electric vehicles on the roads by 2030.
“If you ask today what is the answer to climate change in Pakistan, we don’t have the answer,” said the chamber’s vice president Amir Paracha. “So, we have to look for the answer through this conference.”
Calling for action to encourage the production of recyclable plastic in the country, he said Pakistan was annually producing plastic twice the size of the world’s second tallest mountain.
“If we collect the plastic being produced in the country annually, it will make two mountains of the size of K2, the world’s second highest mountain,” he said while referring to UN findings over the issue.
In a video message played out during the news conference, the country’s commerce chief Abdul Razak Dawood hoped the conference would help generate an action plan that would make it possible for the country to meet its global climate commitments and ensure the sustainability of its economy.
Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, member of the government’s Economic Advisory Council, joined the gathering via a video link from Islamabad and acknowledged that Pakistan was suffering massive economic losses due to climate change which needed to be collectively addressed.
“Climate change is a collective issue requiring a collective approach,” he said. “No single entity in the private or public sector alone can solve this problem.”