HEC chief criticises policy on climate change

February 23,2019

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Islamabad: Pakistan needs to adopt an integrated approach to deal with the problem of climate change. Its current national policy on climate change and the strategy for its implementation are weak, inconsistent, incoherent, and reactive.

The Chairman of the Higher Education Commission Dr. Tariq Banuri made these remarks while delivering a lecture on ‘Climate Change and its Implications for National Security’ here at the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) on Friday.

Dr. Banuri, who is an expert on sustainable development and climate change, is convinced that the current policy is nothing but a “long list of unprioritised measures and agencies” and without any “rationale and targets.” He said, it is not surprising, because of these policy weaknesses, that targets were not met. “The Pakistan Climate Change Act recognizes the (policy) failure and tries to overcome the weak structures,” he said, but cautioned that it was futile to expect a “weak and inconsequential institution” to contribute to creation of a “stronger one.”

Dr. Banuri regretted that the tacit objective behind all actions on climate change in the country in the past was to get hold of foreign aid. “That was the only purpose of making this policy. There was no interest of doing anything about climate change,” he maintained, and added that those who ran the policy even failed to attract those dollars they had been looking for.

Dr Banuri, however, pointed out that measures like billion tree tsunami, mass transit system, improving public health and creation of National Disaster Management Authority and Meteorological Department helped with attending to the impact of climate change. He noted that these steps were originally taken for other reasons and not for tackling climate change. He called it “unconscious policy implementation.”

In a reminder of the seriousness of the situation, Dr. Banuri said, the Global Climate Risk Index 2018 by German Watch, a Bonn-based research institute that studies climate change, had rated Pakistan among the top 10 countries most affected by climate change. He warned that the projected temperature rise for Pakistan in the 21st century was 1 °C higher than global average of about 1.4 °C– 4.6 °C. He said northern parts of the country would be affected more by the climate change than the southern parts.


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