Govt urged to declare climate emergency

Published September 21, 2019
Participants hold placards at a climate march in Peshawar on Friday. — White Star
Participants hold placards at a climate march in Peshawar on Friday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: Civil society groups and students organised a walk in the University of Peshawar (UoP) on Friday in connection with the Global Climate Strike and demanded of the government to declare climate emergency.

Friday has been designated a day for a global strike to demand action on climate change. The walk started from the university’s Puta Hall. Environmental Science Society, Pakistan Red Crescent Society and Islamic Relief, an NGO, jointly organised the awareness walk.

A large number of students of different faculties and University Public School, teachers and climate activists participated in the walk. The participants chanted slogans and displayed banners carrying slogans such as “Save our planet”, “Earth is our mother” and “Stop warming earth”.

The walk concluded at the university’s Convocation Hall and senior academicians briefed the students about the negative effects of global warming and climate change.

Among the main demands were declaration of climate emergency, climate justice through a global coalition and adaptation of low-carbon economy.

Walk held in UoP as part of Global Climate Strike

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Asif Khan, head of the Environmental Science Society, said that walks were being held in 30 major cities and towns across the country. He said that global warming had become a serious challenge for human beings and mass awareness among youth could avert threat to the earth.

“Actions, not words, are required to stop this climate change phenomenon,” said Dr Asif who teaches in the university’s environmental sciences department. He called for drastic measures to minimise greenhouse emissions that threatened the climate. He said that the worldwide campaign had been launched to sensitise policymakers and citizens about the climate change.

Environmental sciences department chairman Pro Dr Hizbullah Khan said that Pakistan should make efforts to shift from thermal to hydro and wind energies.

Prof Dr Shafiq Rehman said that climate change had become a serious phenomenon that was directly affecting human beings. He said that global warming was posing a serious threat to glaciers in Himalaya and Karakoram and melting of glaciers caused flooding and wastage of water.

He said that a significant effect of climate change was that seas were rapidly swallowing coastal areas because of increased water level. He said that the international community should take concrete measures to protect the globe from the side effects of climate change.

Dr Shafiq appreciated the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for planting around one billion saplings during past five years. However, he said that only plantation was not enough to solve the issue of climate change. He said that Pakistan should switch over to hydro and other renewable energies and minimise the use of coal, etc for generating electricity.

He said that one major portfolio of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was generation of electricity from coal which was dangerous for climate and urged the government to rely on renewable energies.

He demanded formation of climate council at the provincial level and legislation in this regard.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019

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