ISLAMABAD: Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid informed the Senate on Thursday that Climate Change Authority was being set up to effectively face challenges in the wake of global warming and environmental degradation.
While replying to various questions during the Question Hour he said that the government was pursuing multipronged strategy including short, medium and long-term measures to meet the challenge of climate change. “We have prepared a national forest policy in coordination with the provinces in order to enhance the forest cover in different parts of the country,” he added. He also said that the government has also launched Green Pakistan Project to enhance the forestation and that the government had also approved the extension in period of observance of merit, regional and provincial quota for a further period of 20 years from the date of its expiry through a constitutional amendment. In this regard the bill is in the process of enactment by the Parliament, he added.
In response to another question he said that the possible environmental impacts of coal-fired plants were identified in their respective Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports which the proponents of these plants have to submit to the respective Environmental Protection Agencies (EPAs). He said that the environmental approval to establish coal-fired power plants was a mandatory requirement under the Federal and Provincial Environmental Acts. The information pertaining to environmental approval of various coal fired plants was being collected from Provincial EPAs and would be provided as soon as received and that Pakistan has signed some Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), he added.
Zahid said that the National Climate Change Policy was approved by the Federal Cabinet in September 2012 and was officially launched on March 26 this year. This policy provided a framework for addressing the issues that Pakistan faces or would potentially face in future due to the changing climate. He said that the policy also aims to ensure that climate change is mainstreamed in economically and socially vulnerable sectors of the economy and also to steer Pakistan towards climate resilient development. He added that all power projects being set up as a part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be based on latest technology which would help ease energy crisis in the country.