Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that the PTI led government’s environmental policies were garnering global recognition.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that the PTI led government’s environmental policies were garnering global recognition.

The premier said this while sharing a video of the World Economic Forum (WEF), summarising Pakistan’s green policies, on his Twitter.

“Globally PTI’s environment policies are being recognised esp our green recovery programme from the Covid 19 pandemic and our Climate action plan,” the prime minister said in his Sunday tweet.

The WEF video detailed three ways through which Pakistan aims to build a greener future.

The country has “pledged to source 60% of energy from renewables by 2030. It has cancelled coal projects, replacing them with hydroelectric power,” the video stated.

The video went on to highlight Pakistan’s creation of over 85,000 green jobs, “….from plant care to the protection of forests. It’s training 5,000 young people to be nature guardians.”

The WEF clip added that the Government of Pakistan was also investing on creating green spaces.

“Pakistan has attracted $180 million in funding towards the creation of 15 new national parks,” it said, adding that the country is also “launching a $500 million ‘green Eurobond’ and will soon provide a monetary valuation of its green space making its worth clear – and easier to protect.”

Climate change, tree plantation and Pakistan

Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries in the world in the face of climate change. Over the previous decade, the country has already witnessed extreme weather conditions including floods, extraordinarily heavy monsoon rains and heatwaves – even as the country has contributed disproportionately less towards the emission of greenhouse gases, which is the largest human factor contributing towards climate change.

Climate-induced migration has already begun in several areas of the country.

The Global Climate Risk Index 2020, issued by think tank Germanwatch, ranked Pakistan fifth on a list of countries most affected by planetary heating over the last two decades.

Several projects have been initiated to address the looming threat of climate change, and the PTI government has emphasised heavily on tree plantation as part of its countermeasures.

The 10 billion tree tsunami project is one such initiative. The ambitious five-year tree-planting programme, which PM Imran launched in 2018, aims to counter the rising temperatures, flooding, droughts and other extreme weather in the country that scientists link to climate change.

According to Germanwatch, Pakistan reported more than 150 extreme weather events between 1999 and 2018 – from floods to heatwaves – with total losses of $3.8 billion.

Environmentalists have long pushed for reforestation as a way to help, saying forests help prevent flooding, stabilise rainfall, provide cool spaces, absorb heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions and protect biodiversity.

According to green group WWF, Pakistan is a “forest poor” country where trees cover less than 6% of the total area.

Every year thousands of hectares of forest are destroyed, mainly as a result of unsustainable logging and clearing land for small-scale farming, the group said on its website.

With 7.5 billion rupees ($46 million) in funding, the 10 Billion Trees project aims to scale up the success of an earlier Billion Tree Tsunami in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, where the government has been planting trees since 2014.


Originally Published by The Express Tribune