Prince Mohammed Bin Salman greets Imran Khan in Riyadh on Monday. Twitter photo
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has heaped praise on Riyadh for launching initiatives to combat climate change, saying “greening Saudi Arabia is idealistic and romantic.”
He said this on Monday while addressing a launching ceremony of the Middle East Green Initiative (MGI) Summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh, hosted by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.
“Greening Saudi Arabia is idealistic, romantic and all my praise with you... we will share our experience of planting two and a half billion trees in Pakistan,” the premier remarked while thanking the crown prince for inviting Pakistan to the summit.
Imran divulged the number of initiatives taken by his government to tackle climate change in the country. “Our target is planting 10 billion trees… 10 per cent of the countries are responsible for 80 per cent of world emissions.”
The premier lamented that Pakistan is among the 10 most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change.
He said before the world takes any action, Pakistan has taken scores of measures to cope with the effects of global warming and climate change. “We will shift 60 per cent of all our energy into clean energy by 2030... we have already shelved coal power projects and no new coal power plant will be established.”
Imran said by 2030 Pakistan is aiming to shift 30 per cent of its transport to electric vehicles to cut greenhouse emissions.
It may be recalled that "Green Saudi Arabia" and "Green Middle East" initiatives were launched by the crown prince in March 2021, aimed at protecting the nature and planet.
Imran Khan holds talks with deputy governor of Riyadh.
Moreover, the premier said Pakistan is also focused on nature-based solutions. “Pakistan is the only country where mangroves cover is growing which absorb the highest amount of carbon emission.”
Imran said his government had planned to plant 1 billion more mangrove trees by 2023.
The number of national parks, he said, had been increased by 50 per cent during his tenure and his government also provided 85,000 “green jobs” during the COVID-19 crisis in an attempt to increase the green cover of the country.
The premier went on to say that Pakistan has collected $500 million through “green bounds” to finance hydroelectric power projects.
“Humanity faces probably one of the biggest crises. Unfortunately, this crisis was quite visible 20 years ago but somehow everyone was in self-denial... no one believed that this would affect us once you alter the nature,” the premier remarked.
Imran said glaciers are melting at a fast pace and all countries including India and Pakistan will face water shortage if drastic measures are not taken.
Kingdom's 'leading role'
Prior to Imran address, the Saudi crown prince launched the Middle East Green Initiative, which he said aimed to invest 39 billion riyals ($10.4 billion) to reduce carbon emissions in the region and protect the environment.
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman with heads of the states in Riyadh on Monday. Twitter photo
Two days after targeting carbon neutrality by 2060, and ahead of next week's COP26 global climate change summit, Mohammed Bin Salman promised to contribute 15 per cent of $10.4 billion to fund the "circular carbon economy" and provide "clean fuel" to help feed 750 million people worldwide.
"Today we are initiating a green era for the area, believing that these changes are not only for the environment but also for the economy and security," he told heads of state and other senior officials at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit in Riyadh.
"We will work on establishing an investment fund in solutions with circular carbon technology in the region and a global initiative which will supply solutions for clean fuel to provide food for more than 750 million people globally."
The prime minister thanked Saudi Arabia after the kingdom agreed to provide $3 billion deposits in order to shore up the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
Imran said the opposition parties have been blackmailing the government since day one to grant them amnesty. He said that the NRO given to the opposition by Pervez Musharraf had had disastrous effects on Pakistan, leading to an increase in debt liabilities.
Pakistan Premier Imran Khan kick started the country’s monsoon tree plantation campaign by planting pine tree saplings in Nathia Gali, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, on Saturday.
These workers carry out different types of work including plantation of saplings, the establishment of nurseries and protection of tree cover from deforestation and fire incidents. It also showed that the federal government is also in a process to get a loan from foreign donor agencies that would be utilised to initiate other Clean and Green projects in Pakistan.
Priority would be given to those who are registered in the Hajj electronic system and whose data have been previously updated.
"The FNC is confident that the UAE, under President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed, will see a new era of achievements and development. The country will continue to be the nation of giving, tolerance, safety and security," Ghobash said.
The move, which will bring total available funding for projects over the next 15 months to $30 billion, was unveiled hours before a major United Nations meeting on global food security.