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September 1, 2015

Court seeks report from govt on climate change policy

Lahore

 
September 1, 2015

LAHORE
The Lahore High Court Monday sought a report from the federal and Punjab governments and its related ministries and departments on steps being taken for implementation of "Framework for Implementation of National Climate Change Policy 2013" to meet challenges of climate change, observing that most serious threat faced by Pakistan is that of climate change.
Asghar Ali, the petitioner, who relies on agriculture for his livelihood, has agitated before the court that the federal government, provincial government and the authorities concerned are not taking steps to develop the required resilience to climate change as per Framework for Implementation of National Climate Change Policy, 2013.
The petitioner while relying on the National Climate Change Policy ("NCCP") issued by the Ministry of Climate Change September 2012 has highlighted the following serious threats to Pakistan as a consequence of climate change: Considerable increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, coupled with erratic monsoon rains causing frequent and intense floods and droughts; Projected recession of the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayan (HKH) glaciers due to global warming and carbon soot deposits from trans-boundary pollution sources, threatening water inflows into the Indus River System (IRS); Increased siltation of major dams caused by more frequent and intense floods; Rising temperatures resulting in enhanced heat and water-stressed conditions, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions, leading to reduced agricultural productivity; Further decrease in the already scanty forest cover, from too rapid change in climatic conditions to allow natural migration of adversely affected plant species; Increased intrusion of saline water in the Indus delta, adversely affecting coastal agriculture, mangroves and the breeding grounds of fish; threat to coastal areas due to projected sea level rise and increased cyclonic activity due to higher sea surface

temperatures; Increased stress between upper riparian and lower riparian regions in relation to sharing of water resources; Increased health risks and climate change induced migration. The threats lead to major survival concerns for Pakistan, particularly in relation to the country's water security, food security and energy security, he added.
Federal government told the court that in order to implement the National Climate Change Policy it has come up with the Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy (2014-2030) which sets four times frames for implementation of the Policy in the following manner: Priority Actions (PA): within 2-years, Short term Actions (SA): within 5-years, Medium term Actions (MA): within 10 years, Long term Actions (LA): within 20-years.
Law officer submitted that the most immediate and serious threat to Pakistan is that of water security and food security. It is submitted that priority items under the Framework, 2013 have not been complied with and no action has been taken by the respective authorities to develop adaptative capacity and resilience to address climate change. The court observed that it appears that the most serious threat faced by Pakistan is that of climate change and issued notices to the respondents for September 4. The court directed federal Standing Counsel to ensure presence of representatives of the respective ministries before the court on the next date.