Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Sunday said that while the developed countries have to take lion’s share of the responsibility in tackling the climate change, Pakistan is ready to contribute in the global efforts.
“Though Pakistan has minimum level of carbon emissions, we will contribute in the global efforts to tackle the climate change issues,” the prime minister said in a brief chat with the media soon after his arrival to attend the two-week 21st UN Climate Change Conference being opened in the French capital on Monday.
Responding to a question, the prime minister said that Pakistan would not allow any hurdles in its development process. “We will present our point of view before the world and will also listen to the point of view of other countries and we will work with the international community and face the challenge,” he added.
The prime minister will deliver his speech at the Leaders event of the 21st UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) at Le Bourget, Paris on Monday (November 30).
The event is scheduled to be attended and addressed by 147 world leaders, including United States President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Earlier, the prime minister landed at Orly Airport along with First Lady Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif and his Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi.
He was received by senior French officials, Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid, Pakistan’s Ambassador to France Ghalib Iqbal and other senior officials of the embassy.
The prime minister, who in his address is expected to highlight Pakistan’s efforts in tackling the climate change, will also join the world leaders at a lunch to be hosted by the French President Francois Hollande in honour of the heads of state and government.
Despite the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, the organizers were committed to go ahead with the event as planned. The main events of the COP21 are being held at Le Bourget, outside the city center, where French authorities have taken strict security measures to keep the site safe.
Besides addressing the Climate Change Conference, the prime minister is also expected to hold some bilateral meetings on its sidelines.
Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid said that although Pakistan is amongst the lowest emitters and accounts for less than one per cent of the total global carbon emissions, it remains committed to the global efforts to reduce climate-altering carbon emission to tackle global warming and its impacts.
He told media personnel that Paris Conference was important as there was a possibility that world powers could reach an agreement on this issue of global importance.
The minister said that Pakistan also expected the world to provide required resources and technology to tackle the challenges of climate change in the wake of its enhanced focus on development in the areas of energy and water shortages and its ongoing work on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Earlier, Pakistan’s Ambassador to France Ghalib Iqbal told the news agency that besides addressing the Paris Conference, the prime minister would also have an informal meeting with the French President Francois Hollande and express Pakistan’s solidarity with the government and people of France over the November 13 terror attacks.
He also highlighted the challenges of melting glaciers, floods, and other natural disasters faced by Pakistan due to climate change and said that the conference would take up these issues.
The ambassador said that according to some international reports, Pakistan could touch dangerous levels in terms of water scarcity by 2050.
The international conference on climate change is widely expected to produce a historic agreement among nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say cause global warming.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said that the Paris UN Climate Conference represents a historic opportunity to put the world on course to meet the climate change challenge. She said the world needs a new model of growth that is safe, durable and beneficial to all. The Paris conference seeks to deliver a clear pathway with short and long term milestones, and a system to help measure and increase progress over time until they get the job done. “The Paris Agreement is not only possible, it is necessary and urgent. We are counting on everyone’s contribution,” she said.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that 183 countries accounting for nearly 95 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions have submitted plans for how they would reduce emissions.
As Fabius acknowledged, the plans of the 183 countries are projected to limit global warming by between 2.7 and 3.5 degrees Celsius — not the 2-degree threshold at which scientists say most of the worst effects of climate change could be avoided.