Govt’s plan to reduce carbon emissions termed ‘deficient’
ISLAMABAD: Environmentalists have criticised the government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions as required under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), calling the plan ‘deficient’.
Over 190 countries signatory to the UNFCCC are required to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) on how they plan to reduce carbon emissions to bring down global temperatures and prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
The prime minister, on Thursday, approved the intended INDC for submission to the UNFCCC.
The initial 30-page document, prepared by the Ministry of Climate Change (MCC), was reduced to 350 words, seven paragraphs, and squeezed onto a single page.
Former ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel called the document “a sham with a number of problems”.
Mr Kakakhel was one of the speakers at a training workshop for journalists on the UNFCCC, organised by Heinrich Boll Stiftung, Pakistan.
Mr Kakakhel, who is also an environmentalist, said that Pakistan was one of the last countries to submit its action plan to reduce carbon emissions.
Workshop participants learnt that while most countries have given exact figures for the level of emissions that each country would reduce, Pakistan has committed to nothing in its INDC.
China intends to reduce its carbon emissions by 60 per cent, Japan by 26 per cent, Turkey by 21 per cent, Thailand by nearly 25 per cent and Bangladesh by five per cent.
The US is likely to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent and bring the level back to where it was in 2005.
The EU plans to reduce GHG emissions by cutting their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 and bring the level to where it was during the 1990s.
The speakers also criticised that delegates representing Pakistan at the upcoming climate change conference in Paris were rejected by the prime minister, who will now attend the event himself.
Participants were told that the list of 58 members travelling to Paris to voice Pakistan’s vulnerabilities to the impact of climate change has been reduced to five or six members of the climate change ministry.
Speakers said the prime minister would travel to the event for two days with his own team, which includes government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speakers argued that Pakistan could lose its standing, as a consequential player, to appeal for financial support, request technology transfers and ask for capacity building to take mitigation and adaptation measures against climate change.
Mr Kakakhel said that Pakistan had lost the opportunity to apprise the international community of its vulnerabilities to climate change, such as the floods of “biblical proportions” that have hit the country for the last several years.
An official from the MCC confirmed that the number of delegates has been reduced. Apart from a few officials from the ministry, most of the delegates were being funded by local and international NGOs.
MCC Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan told Dawn that: “Pakistan did not commit [to how much of its emissions] it will cut. The country’s development needs are expected to grow,” he said.