ISLAMABAD: Prime Min­ister Imran Khan has told the world leaders that Pakistan has decided to have nature-based solutions to mitigate impacts of climate change by planting 10 billion trees across the country in the next three years.

“Secondly, we have inc­re­ased the number of national parks and forest areas from 30 to 45,” PM Khan said at the virtual Climate Ambi­t­ion Summit 2020 on Satur­day.

Co-hosted by the United Kingdom, France, and the United Nations, in partnership with Chile and Italy, the Climate Ambition Sum­mit represents a vital step on the road to next year’s COP26, providing an opportunity for countries to set an age­n­da for 2021. The summit has brought together the leaders who were ready to make new commitments to tackle climate change and deliver on the Paris Agreement, five years since it was adopted on December 12, 2015.

In his address, Prime Minister Khan said that Pakistan is a country with less than one per cent contributions to global emissions, but “sadly, we are the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change.”

“At the same time, we have decided that we will not have any more power based on coal [burning]. We have already scrapped two coal power projects, which were supposed to produce 2,600 megawatts of energy and replaced it with hydro-electricity. We will produce energy either by coal to liquid or coal to gas so that we do not have to burn coal to produce energy,” he explained.

He informed the world leaders that Pakistan had also decided that by 2030, 60 per cent energy produced in Pakistan would be clean energy through renewables. “Also, 30 per cent of vehicles in Pakistan will be electric powered,” he said before committing that Pakistan would be doing “its best to make its contributions to mitigate the effects of climate change”.

The summit also marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, the groundbreaking international commitment to climate action that set an overall ambition for the world to be no warmer than 1.5 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial temperatures by 2100.

Being part of the Paris Agreement means governments have to set targets called “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs), which determine, among other things, how fast they are going to cut carbon emissions.

At the Climate Ambition Summit 2020, countries will set out new and ambitious commitments under the three pillars of the Paris Agreement such as mitigation, adaptation and finance commitments.

Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2020

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