PM Sharif’s China visit reinforces Pakistan’s efforts in climate change

By Dr Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan | Gwadar Pro Nov 4, 2022

Editor's Note: The author is Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan, Executive Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS), Islamabad, and Regional Expert on China, CPEC & BRI. This article only reflects the opinion of the author, not necessarily of Gwadar Pro.

Prior to his visit to China, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has “dubbed” the iron-clad friendship between Pakistan and China as “Sacred Tale” which has now been further strengthened in the “Joint Statement”.

Subsequently, with the inclusion and approval of the new projects pertaining to energy, infrastructure development, trade, investment, solar energy and last but not least, agricultural development, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has now been further strengthened, streamlined, and systemized, which is a good omen for the revival of macro-economy, gearing-up of massive industrialization and acceleration of innovative modernization in the country.

Critical analysis of the joint statement upholds that CPEC and Pak-China bilateral relations have been put on the path of “qualitative development” and “strategic expansion” in terms of climate change cooperation, disaster management, green revolution and human right protection.

Moreover, the joint statement also sheds light on the looming threat of non-state existential threat of global warming/climate change and is committed to taking all possible measures, integrated policies, and concerted efforts to diminish and follow the bad impacts of climate change. In this connection, both countries reiterated their commitment to UNFCCC as well as to the goals, principles, and provisions of its Paris Agreement, in particular the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR).

It is true that appropriate UNFCCC climate finance is urgently needed for the mitigation of increasing incidents of climate change because large-scale investments are required to significantly reduce emissions. It is also equally important for adaptation, as significant financial resources are needed to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of a changing climate. Therefore, Pak-China emphasis on this particular issue of climate financing has multiplier significance and consequences too.

China has been the true champion of renewables, green energy development (wind & solar), and contributor to UN UNFCCC climate finance. Moreover, it has been one of the key investors of green/alternative energy production in the world which shows its strong commitment to controlling, mitigating, and eradicating the climate change threat.

Moreover, four of the world’s five biggest renewable energy contracts were signed by Chinese private companies in 2016. It built nearly 31 gigawatts (GW) of new solar power capacity from January to June, up 137 percent from a year earlier, with full-year installations on course to hit a record high.

The International Energy Agency (2020-2021) appreciates China’s holistic and comprehensive energy policies which have made solar power more affordable. China has been effective in bringing down costs worldwide for solar photovoltaics (PV), with multiple benefits for clean energy transitions. Therefore, the government of Pakistan and its private sector should take this golden opportunity to further strengthen the solar energy cooperation with China under the strategic expansion of CPEC Phase-II.

Critical analysis reveals that China is set to add at least 570 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar power in the 14th five-year plan (FYP) period from 2021 to 2025 which will further enhance its positive, productive, and participatory role in the global mitigation of climate change.

The latest published report from Pakistan's board of investment, out of the $144 million foreign investment in Solar PV plants, $125 million is from China, accounting for nearly 87 percent of the total which shows China's commitment to pursuing green energy projects in Pakistan. Both sides are now further consolidating persuasions of green energies in CPEC Phase-II.

CPEC has been transformed into green by initiating lots of integrated policies and mega projects in the country. Moreover, coal energy projects under the flagship of CPEC have been rated environment-friendly in the country by various independent regulatory bodies.

To conclude, the joint statement of PM Sharif's visit to China has introduced new dimensions and strategic priorities between both countries. Focusing on cooperation along with climate change policies are the real essence of this visit.

Our collective survival, the pace of the productive channels, agricultural productivity, biodiversity, and last but not least, the holistic relation between Man and Nature depends on green energy and service to humanity.

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