The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) just approved the Climate Change Policy and Action Plan 2022 which aims to reduce carbon emissions and reduce the impact of human activity on the environment. While it is being lauded as the first provincial-level policy to be approved, certain concerns must be addressed. Questions like whether it is comprehensive enough, goes to the root of the problem, highlights major threats to the province, provides solutions, suggests preemptive measures that can be taken or addresses long-term schemes that will mitigate the harms done by climate change are yet to be answered.
The provincial cabinet approved the Climate Change Policy and Action Plan 2022 and claimed that technological developments, in addition to nature-based solutions, will rescue Pakistan. The primary focus was on setting up a biofuel plant that will create energy out of waste. This will not only reduce environmental pollution but will also enable the province to become self-sufficient. While this is a good direction to be thinking of, this is not all that the province needs. There are crucial aspects that are not being considered.
A climate change policy has to be crafted in a manner that highlights the pre-existing and current problems brought upon by climate change. It should further trace the root cause and suggest ways through which the threat of natural disasters can be reduced and in the case that they do occur, damage and loss of lives be mitigated. So far, the information released about the policy does not indicate that it is as extensive. The one thing that it does is highlight the need to introduce greener ways to produce energy and should this be seriously worked towards, our carbon emissions might seriously ebb.
What remains undisputed however is that a climate change policy must be sustainable in the long-term, extensive in nature and should look at establishing achievable targets. It is good to see that some momentum has been built on environmental conservation after the devastating floods but we have to utilise it in the right way.