PM heaps praise on Saudi Arabia’s ‘idealistic’ climate initiatives



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.

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PM 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.”

PM Imran said by 2030 Pakistan Is aiming to shift 30 per cent of its transport to electric vehicles to cut greenhouse emissions.

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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.

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.”

PM 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.

PM 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 PM 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.

Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom, which is the world's top oil exporter, would contribute 15% of the funds and would work with other states and development funds on the funding and execution of the initiatives.

"As part of the kingdom's leading role in developing energy markets, it will work to establish an investment fund for carbon circular economy solutions in the region and an initiative to offer clean energy solutions to help feed more than 750 million people worldwide," he said.

Saudi Arabia would work to establish a regional carbon capture and storage centre, a regional early storm warning centre and a regional cloud seeding programme, he added.

(With additional input from Reuters)

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)