ISLAMABAD: The experts on Friday emphasised that the natural resource-rich region of Pakistan bears unmatched potential of power generation through renewable resources of wind and solar that needed to be exploited for a carbon free development.
The project inception workshop for preparation of Pakistan’s Third National Communication (TNC) under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held here on behalf of Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Pakistan).
The aim of the event is to create awareness among relevant stakeholders about the key components and themes revolving around the effective execution of the project.
In his address as chief guest, Additional Secretary MoCC Jodat Ayaz said the country was emitting less than 500 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), adding, "Our crime is 132nd on the list but punishment is on the top in terms of damages incurred by natural calamities."
The country, he said, had initiated the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Plantation project, the Electric Vehicle Policy, Recharge Pakistan project but these were all pledges to be completed eight years down the lane.
"Pakistan has 40,000 megawatts (MW) of wind energy potential at Gharo Sindh. Wind alone can meet the energy needs of the country whereas the solar alone has the potential of 30,000 MW. But only 2-3 percent of energy comes from these sources," Ayaz said.
Water, he said, was going to be the next major crisis of the country that it had to face in the coming years as the melting of glaciers had also expedited in the North due to rising temperatures. He mentioned that the glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) events propensity had also geared up from 4-5 events in the northern areas on average to 16-17 events this year causing massive collateral damage.
"17% of Pakistan's glaciers have melted which will melt faster disappearing once and for all. There needs to be a cross sectoral ministerial engagement for ground based workable policies," he said.
He suggested that the communication endeavours of the stakeholders should cater for youth and also the curriculum at schools should have ample information to sensitise the young generation on climate change.
Speaking on the occasion, WWF-Pakistan, Director General Hammad Naqi Khan said Pakistan was among the top ten countries relentlessly affected due to climate change. He said the country was already water-stressed and heading towards water scarcity in the coming years.
"Forget the 2010 floods, GLOFs that are regular events as this year was the hottest ever in this region. The monsoon rains pattern had transformed due to global warming. In May, the country received 50% less than average rainfall and in July, it had above normal rainfall which was unprecedented."
Khan mentioned that the climate change was the biggest challenge faced by the country along with economic and political challenges. "We have a comprehensive climate change policy with an implementation framework based on medium and long term plans. The present nationally determined contributions (NDCs) as compared to previous ones are better with quite specific and clear targets. It is ambitious but essential for a country on the receiving end of climate change."
He proposed that every ministry should have a focal person for climate change that would help for a coordinated effort on crosscutting issues.
CEO National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) Bilal Anwar said the country's GHG emissions were miniscule but at the same time it needed to recognize that carbon intensity of its productivity was very high that should be reduced for sustainable growth and development.
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Suzanne Lekoyiet congratulated government of Pakistan as one of the few to approach for funding to report under Paris Agreement.
The NDC reporting, she said required data collection, archiving, and verification whereas the UNEP's role was more like of facilitator to provide guidance for the report to get required standards.
She urged the experts that the data should have the language of policy makers and local communities so that this document should be made understandable and simplified for the affected communities' understanding and awareness.