Pakistan to miss out on climate change funding?

July 2, 2013 at 2:37 PM
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ISLAMABAD, July 2 (UPI) -- As Pakistan grapples with the effects of climate change, the government risks losing out on much-needed international funding available to help it, experts say.

Scientists say that in the last 20 years, Pakistan's average temperature has risen by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit and the country has experienced 141 extreme weather events, ClimateWire reports.

"If we look at the frequency and the trend of the extreme weather events impacting Pakistan, then it is easy to find its link with climate change," Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, a vice president at the World Meteorological Organization and former director of Pakistan's meteorological office, was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper.

Pervaiz Amir, an environmental expert and member of the Prime Minister's Task Force on Climate Change, told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper that even though Pakistan is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change,"we are doing nothing to cope with the challenge."

The Pakistani government has reduced funding to just below $600,000 to combat climate change for 2013-14, compared with $1.7 million for 2012-13, Dawn reports. And the government has dissolved its Climate Change Ministry, calling it instead a climate change division.

Help for Pakistan could be available from the United Nations-backed Green Climate Fund, which plans to raise $100 billion by 2020 to provide support to developing countries to help limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

At the recent U.N.-sponsored climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, Amir told Dawn, India and Bangladesh "effectively fought their case" to seek international funding, "but there was no official representative to present a case" for Pakistan.

Amir says the international community views Pakistan as a "non-serious country" and that could lead to the country's isolation on a global level if the government doesn't show a willingness to deal with the challenges of climate change.

The Dawn report says Pakistan has yet to benefit from the funding, mostly because of the country's inefficiency in dealing with environmental challenges. India, by contrast, is spending more than 2.6 percent of its gross domestic product to deal with the challenges of climate change and is one of the biggest recipients of climate change aid.

"The government should revive the Climate Change Ministry and develop different viable projects to seek international funding for them," Amir said.

Muhammad Khalid Siddiq, a joint secretary at Pakistan's climate change division, acknowledged that the dissolution of the ministry has not sent a good signal to the international community.

"Numerous international donors and organizations working on climate change have conveyed their annoyance over the decision and we hope the government will revive the ministry for effective adaptation and mitigation measures on climate change," Siddiq told Dawn.

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