Imran leaves for Saudi to attend climate summit

ISLAMABAD: The prime minister on Saturday left for a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia to attend the launch ceremony of the Middle East Green Initiative Summit in Riyadh, the Foreign Office said.

The summit will convene more than 20 heads of state from across the region to discuss ways to reduce emissions, reverse desertification and grow forests, and “endorse targets for shared environmental commitments”, the Al Arabiya agency said.

Imran Khan left with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar and his adviser on climate change Malik Amin Aslam, the Foreign Office said.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had personally extended the invitation to Khan to attend the launching ceremony on October 25.

At the event, Khan — under whom Pakistan is recognised by the World Economic Forum as “Champions for Nature” — will share his perspective on the challenges faced by developing countries due to climate change, the PMO said.

He will also highlight Pakistan’s experience of launching “nature-based solutions to address the environmental challenges”.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has made scrupulous efforts to make climate action and environmental change a priority, starting a Green Stimulus project and initiating so-called green jobs for the unemployed. The Tiger Force, a youth volunteer service, also planted saplings under the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project.

An initiative of the crown prince, the Summit is the “first of its kind” in the Middle East region, the PMO statement added.


The kingdom, one of the world’s biggest polluters, said it would also join a global effort to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

The UN says more than 130 countries have set or are considering a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, a target it says is “imperative” to safeguard a livable climate.

“I announce today Saudi Arabia’s target to reach net zero emissions by 2060 through its circular carbon economy approach,” said the crown prince in a recorded statement at the “Saudi Green Initiative” forum.

“I am pleased to launch initiatives in the energy sector that will reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tonnes annually by 2030, thus voluntarily more than doubling the target announced.”

“We also announce the kingdom’s accession to the Global Methane Pledge.”

A statement said Saudi Arabia would “contribute to cutting global methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030, as part of its commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener future”.

The 2060 target would “enable us to have a smooth and viable transition, without risking economic or social impacts”, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told the conference.


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