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LHC forms ‘Climate Change Commission’

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has constituted a “Climate Change Commission” for effective implementation of the National Climate Change Policy, 2012 (NCCP) and the framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy (2014-2030).

Advocate Dr Pervaiz Hasan will head the 21-member commission as its chairman. The members include secretaries of climate change ministry, water and power, finance revenue and planning and development ministries, besides director general (DG) of National Disaster Management Authority, DG of International Organisation/Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Secretaries of Punjab irrigation, agricultural, food, forest, health and environment protection departments, Provincial Disaster Management Authority director, CEO & National Programme director, LEAD Pakistan, Hamad Naqi, WWF Director General Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Manager Islamabad Programme Office, IUCN, Abid Solehri, CEO, SDPI, Advocate Saima Amin Khwaja, Punjab Assistant Advocate General Anwaar Hussain, Advocate Mansoor Usman Awan and Irfan Tariq, DG (Environment), Ministry of Climate Change, Islamabad.

Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said in his order that the commission would have the power to co-opt any person/expert, at any stage. It can seek assistance of any federal or provincial government ministries/departments in writing and the concerned ministries/departments have been directed to render full assistance to the commission in respect of its Terms of References (ToRs).

The commission would hold its first meeting on Oct 1 and file a primarily report in the court on Oct 5.

Justice Shah formed the commission while hearing a petition filed by an agriculturalist, highlighting challenges of climate change.

After hearing views of representatives from different ministries and departments, the judge observed it was quite clear that no material exercise had been done on the ground to implement the framework.

The petitioner submitted that an overwhelming majority of scientists, experts, and professional scientific organisations related to earth sciences agreed that evidences were sufficient that climate change was real. He said no one could deny the devastating impact of increase in frequency and intensity of climate extremes.

He said the experts agreed that the major cause of climate change was human activity, which include a complex interaction with the natural environment, coupled with social and economic changes that were increasing the heat trapping CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere, which were increasing global temperature and in turn causing climate change.

The petitioner stated that for Pakistan, climate change was no longer a distant threat as the country was already experiencing its impacts. The country experienced devastating floods during the last three years, he said and added that these changes came with far reaching consequences and real economic costs. He sought implementation of National Climate Change Policy and its framework.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2015

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