Climate change: Court summons commission head
LAHORE: Lahore High Court has summoned the chairman of the Climate Change Commission with a report on the commission’s performance.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah issued the directive on Monday during the hearing of a petition seeking implementation of the National Climate Change Policy 2012.
The 20-member judicial commission on climate change had been constituted on a directive issued during an earlier hearing of the petition. Dr Pervaiz Hassan had been appointed as the commission’s chairman.
On Monday, the judge observed that the government could not be allowed to shirk its responsibilities towards the public. He said development of policies was not enough. The government needed to implement its policies in letter and spirit, he said.
He said it appeared that most government projects on reduction of the impact of climate change remained on paper only. He said that courts would not remain silent on such matters.
The judge lamented that there had been a lot of talk on construction of new dams but no practical measures were taken on the matter. He said the government was responsible for the increase in the rate at which glaciers in the country’s northern areas were melting. “The next generation would not forgive us if nothing is done to reduce the impact of climate change,” he said.
Earlier, a project director from the Glacier Monitoring Research Centre (GMRC) told the court that the melting rate recorded for most glaciers between June and September this year was higher than any previous recording. He said increase in average temperatures was responsible for this.
The official stressed the need for construction of more dams in the country. He said with a higher number of dams the country could store the water released from the melting of glaciers. He said without adequate storage facilities most of this water was causing floods downstream.
He said dams were also needed to increase the production of electricity. Shortage of funds and political
rifts were preventing progress on the issue, he said.
Petitioner Asghar Leghari had submitted that the Ministry of Climate Change had announced the National Climate Change Policy of 2012 and the Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy (2014-2030) to reduce the impact of climate change. However, he said no action had been taken by the government for implementation of these policies.
He added the country had been experiencing devastating floods for several years. He said climate change impacts were taking a toll on the country’s economy. Yet, he said the government appeared to lack the will to take any action on the matter.