Mushahidullah Khan lauds European Union for new €9bn climate funding

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ISLAMABAD Jan 09 (TNS): Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan has lauded the European Union for announcing a generous funding of €9 billion to help the global community fight climate change.

“The announcement of whopping amount in funding for climate action in developing countries will help boost climate resilience of various socio-economic sectors, particularly agriculture, water, irrigation, health, energy and construction,” he told in an exclusive interview with the media.

He said his climate change ministry will try to get sufficient amount of the new funding by the European commission to protect country’s agriculture, health, irrigation and energy sectors from the fallouts of the recurring and protracted droughts, heat waves and floods.

He highlighted that the climate change is predicted to lead to more frequent and intense droughts, floods, heat waves, and other extreme weather, as well as more intense storms and rising sea levels. These fallouts of the climate change are likely to badly affect agriculture, water, energy, health and infrastructure sectors of economy across swathes of the globe, including sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.

“These effects will also be felt in Pakistan in a harder way and dampen the gains of the poverty reduction, health improvement, food security, diseases control, development and energy infrastructure,” he warned and said, “The present government was very much aware of the situation and is taking institutional and policy measures to cope with these climate change impacts.”

Pakistan is extremely vulnerable to devastating effects of the global warming-caused climate change and sufferings climate-related losses to the tune of nearly four Rs400 billion in socio-economic damages.

In its Global Climate Risk Index 2018 report launched last year in November in Bonn, the globally-recognised independent think-tank German Watch ranked the country the 7th most climate-vulnerable country in the world.

The European commission announced last month a funding of €9 billion for action on climate change, one of a flurry of measures from governments, businesses and investors aimed at achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.

EU fund will be focused on clean energy and sustainable cities and agriculture as a part of climate change adaptation and mitigation according to European commission. The Paris Agreement was adopted on 12 December 2015 at the conclusion of COP 21 (the 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which guides the Conference).

All the participating over 195 countries including Pakistan and the European Union unanimously agreed to significantly reduce climate-altering emissions globally to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and ideally to 1.5 degrees Celsius by end of the 21st century to avoid catastrophic impacts of the climate change.

The climate change minister said with such funding by industrialized countries, blamed for global warming-induced climate change, it was possible to create alternatives to the fossil-fuel driven economy in these advanced countries. “But more aggressive efforts on the part of the rich countries including US, Germany, France, Poland, Japan, China and India are quickly needed for climate change mitigation through transitioning towards low-carbon economy,” he emphasized.

Mushahidullah Khan highlighted that the developed countries continued to ruthlessly exploit natural resources beyond limits and in an unsustainable manner to achieve industrialisation goals over last several decades. “However, they had a undeniable responsibility to help the world’s poor, who are bearing the brunts of rich nations, adapt to the unfolding ravaging impacts of global warming, which has destablised the climate,” he said. He further said what is inspirational and ray of hope for the global community is that the Paris agreement was now gradually resulting in more investment pouring in from developed countries.

This investment need to be used judiciously by developing countries to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on agriculture, water, energy, health and infrastructure and reduce poverty and achieve food security goals through climate-smart farming practices, sowing climate-resilient agriculture seeds and adoption of water-saving technologies for irrigation.

“These sorts of investments by rich polluting nations are of paramount significance, if the world is to move collectively from ‘climate aspirations to action’ and access to these investments is made easy for climate-vulnerable developing countries.

He hoped the new funding announced by the European commission would not only help generate new jobs, particularly in renewable energy sector but also lead to far-reaching impact in shape of poverty reduction, improved health and better access to technology in poorer countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, Laos, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.