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Along with Denmark and Norway, Pakistan co-chairs a 32-nation Group of Friends on Sustainable Energy, which is committed to a transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy.
Pakistan is also a member of the Group of Friends on Climate Change, which is also committed to promoting the use of safe, renewable energy.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of this group in New York earlier this week, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram warned that most developing countries could fail to fulfill their commitments to the goal of creating a clean environment if they were not helped in making an adequate recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.
“If developing countries are destitute, if there are humanitarian disasters, if we are unable to recover from Covid, I think all other actions for many developing countries will become irrelevant,” he said. “So urgent and immediate actions are needed.”
The Pakistani envoy, who is also the president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), urged major emitters of harmful gases into the atmosphere to fulfil their commitment to creating a safe and clean environment for all.
“There are positive indications I agree, but I believe that these should be made much clearer as we go forward, especially from the biggest country, the United States,” he said. “We look forward to what the new US administration will have to say in the coming months.”
Urging the world’s leading nations to fulfil their pledge for the hundred billion annual commitment on climate finance, Ambassador Akram said: “I think for many developing countries that will be an acid test.”
Pakistan, he said, was one of the smallest emitters of carbon in the world, but it’s also one of the most vulnerable countries with devastating environmental impact.
“We have an extensive and ambitious plan, both on adaptation, mitigation,” he said, adding that Pakistan was committed to meeting the targets set by various international agreements for promoting clean energy.
“We are also a champion on financing investment in renewable energy, and we look forward to playing that role as well,” he said.
Ambassador Akram also underlined the need for concrete progress on development transfer and deployment of technology in developing countries.
In August, Pakistan unveiled a plan to boost the share of renewable energy to 30 per cent by 2030, up from about 4 per cent today.
During the first phase, Pakistan aims to increase the share of renewables in power mix to 30 per cent by 2025. The targeted mix will include mainly wind and solar power, but also geothermal, tidal, wave and biomass energy.
With boosts in hydropower capacity, Pakistan hopes to bring the share of clean energy in its electricity mix to 65 per cent by 2030.
But plans to build seven more coal-fired power plants during the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project could prevent the country from reaching this goal. Pakistan’s intended move to clean energy has also been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.