Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed puzzlement at the response to Pakistan not being invited to the United States (US) President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate.

“I am puzzled at the cacophony over Pakistan not being invited to a climate change conference!” the prime minister said in the tweet on Saturday.

“My government’s environment policies are driven solely by our commitment to our future generations of a clean and green Pakistan to mitigate the impact of climate change,” he added.

The prime minister’s statement appears to be a reactionary and diplomatic response to the snub by the US.

The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry’s decision to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, and Bangladesh from April 1 to April 9 for consultations on the climate crisis, while leaving out Pakistan, had ushered in questions on its diplomatic implications.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a series of tweets, outlined his government’s environmentally driven policies in including Green Pakistan, the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami initiative, nature-based solutions, and initiatives to clean Pakistan’s rivers. He added that Pakistan is willing to help any other states willing to learn from its experience.

“We have gained vast experience in 7 years, beginning with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and our policies are being recognised and lauded,” he wrote. “We are ready to help any state wanting to learn from our experience.”

“I have already laid out priorities for the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 – COP26 – if the international community is serious about countering the impact of climate change,” he added.

Pakistan’s exclusion

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India and Bangladesh from April 1 to April 9 for consultations on climate crisis, says a US Department of State media release.

“Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will travel to Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, and Dhaka April 1-9, 2021, for consultations on increasing climate ambition ahead of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate April 22-23 and the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change later this year,” the statement read.

During his tour to Asia, Kerry will not visit one of the major countries in the region, Pakistan. The country is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change.

Ironically, Pakistan is not among 40 countries whose leaderships has ben invited for a virtual two-day Leaders Summit being hosted by President Biden.

In Abu Dhabi, Kerry is expected to join a regional discussion on climate to take place on April 4. All countries in the Middle East and North Africa region have been invited to join, including Qatar.

Pakistan’s exclusion from the summit had raised eyebrows, with several analysts questioning the move given the country’s vulnerability to global warming and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s focus on the environment front.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office had last week hinted that Islamabad was not invited to the summit because it was “one of the lowest emitters – with less than one percent of the global emissions”.

Responding to a question, the FO spokesman had said that President had invited those countries who are responsible for 80 percent of global emissions. Pakistan, despite being among the top ten countries affected by Climate Change, is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases.

Kerry’s visit to India comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is facing calls from the United States and Britain to commit India, the world’s third biggest carbon emitter, to a net zero emissions target by 2050.

India, whose per capita emissions are way lower than that of the United States, European countries and even China, is concerned that binding itself to such a target could constrain the energy needs of its people.

Kerry’s visit to the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh is significant as experts say those countries are “especially vulnerable to climate change as they have large numbers of people living in areas barely above sea level,” and lack infrastructure to protect them.

Former secretary of State, Kerry, is leading efforts to get countries to commit themselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by about the middle of the century.

Later this year world leaders will gather for the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow to build on a 2015 Paris accord to halt the increase in global temperatures at levels that would avoid the worst impacts of climate change.


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