PM urges developed world to take lead in meeting climate targets | The Express Tribune

Prime Minister Imran Khan has stressed that the developed countries must take lead in raising their climate ambitions, both for emissions reduction and increased financial flows to the developing countries.

Emphasising that commitments made under the Paris Agreement must be fully implemented, he expressed concern over unrealised climate finance pledges by the developed nations.

The premier expressed these views while addressing an informal meeting on climate change through a video link on Monday.

The meeting was convened jointly by the Prime Minister of UK Boris Johnson and the United Nations Secretary-General on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. Twenty-five heads of state and governments were invited to the leaders’ informal gathering.

The prime minister also suggested that initiatives such as debt-for-nature swap would create fiscal space for the developing countries for enhanced climate actions.

He also highlighted Pakistan’s extreme vulnerability to climate change and shared that addressing its impact was a major priority of his government.

In this regard, PM Imran appraised the leaders about the key national initiatives, including the success of flagship 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Project and a clean energy target of 60 per cent by 2030.

The premier also highlighted that Pakistan had replaced two planned 2,600MW coal power plants with hydropower projects as part of its efforts towards climate-sensitive economic growth and development.

In its quest to be a part of the solution, Pakistan remains fully committed to play its leadership role in addressing the global challenge of climate change through cooperative and constructive engagement.

The objective of the meeting was to deliver a shared political understanding and vision on what needs to be delivered in the lead-up to and at the forthcoming Climate Change Conference (COP-26) in Glasgow, to be held in November 2021.

Alarm bell

Meanwhile, the British prime minister urged leaders of the world’s major economies including the United States to deliver on their commitments towards a $100 billion per year climate fund with less than six weeks to go before a UN climate summit.

“Too many major economies – some represented here today, some absent – are lagging too far behind,” Johnson said. “I’ll stress that again – for this to be a success we need developed countries to find that $100 billion.”

He told reporters that he is hopeful the United States can deliver on a promise to step up its share of money towards the $100 billion annual goals but “we’ve been here before” and “we’re not counting our chickens”.

US Climate Envoy John Kerry, who represented the United States at Monday’s meeting, said Washington would deliver more climate aid ahead of the Oct. 31-Nov. 12 COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

“The United States is crucially important,” Johnson said. “It will send a massively powerful signal to the world.”

“The alarm bell needs to be rung,” he told reporters last week. “Countries are not on target, really, to bridge these gaps in mitigation, finance and adaptation.”

The roundtable discussion aims to ensure a successful outcome at the UN climate conference even as recent reports show major economies being far off track on their emission reduction goals and climate finance commitments.

Countries involved in the roundtable included the United States, China, India, EU nations as well as Costa Rica, the Maldives and a mix of developing and middle-income countries and industrialised nations.

A UN analysis of country pledges under the Paris agreement on climate released on Friday showed global emissions would be 16% higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 – far off the 45% reduction by 2030 that scientists say is needed to stave off disastrous climate change.

Another report released on Friday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said that rich countries likely missed a goal to contribute $100 billion last year to help developing nations deal with climate change after increasing funding by less than 2% in 2019.

The UN expects to hear updates from some of the major economies on how they will strengthen their emission reduction targets and clarity around how to hit the $100 billion goal.

Guterres will also press donor countries and multilateral development banks to show progress toward meeting his goal to increase the share of finance dedicated to helping countries adapt to climate change to 50% from the current level of 21%, said Hart.

Hart said that current finance dedicated to adaptation is around $16.7 billion a year, a fraction of the current estimated adaptation costs of around $70 billion a year.

Johnson, host of the COP26, said at a meeting of the major economies on Friday that the world’s richest countries “must get serious about filling the $100 billion pot that the developing world needs in order to do its bit.”

Guterres told Reuters last week that the climate summit is at risk of failure.

“I believe that we are at risk of not having a success in COP26,” Guterres told Reuters in an interview at UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday. “There is still a level of mistrust, between north and south, developed and developing countries, that needs to be overcome.”

With additional input from APP and Reuters

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