ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Monday conveyed Pakistan’s consent to the EU and US governments that the country is joining the ‘Global Methane Pledge’ to support global efforts to fight climate change.
The response came on the invitation of European Union and US governments to Pakistan to join the pledge, a global effort to be launched this year on the sidelines of the United Nations annual climate summit in Glasgow later this month, according to an official statement.
“The pledge is a US and EU-led global effort to jointly cut methane emissions 30% by 2030 by 2030, boosting the emerging global partnership a momentum for slowing down global warming ahead of its launch at the UN climate summit,” he explained.
“We have informed the EU and US administrations that Pakistan would join the Methane Pledge to help global efforts to combat climate change,” Amin added.
Now Pakistan is among the 24 new signatories to the Global Methane Pledge first announced by the United States and the EU in September with the aim to boost rapid climate action prior to the onset of the two-week-long global climate change summit starting from Oct 31.
The nine original partners include UK, Mexico, Indonesia, Japan and Nigeria that signed on to the pledge when it was announced at the Major Economies Forum in September this year.
The partnership of the signatories of the methane pledge now covers 60% of global GDP and 30% of global methane emissions.
“It could have unprecedentedly a powerful bearing on the energy, agriculture and waste sectors responsible for the largescale emissions of methane gas,” the PM’s aide added.
Methane is a powerful flammable and colourless greenhouse gas, about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the planet and causing climate change. Being the biggest component of natural gas and used for fuel, its leakages are caused by poorly constructed conventional drilling operations, shale gas wells, gas pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure.
The SAPM recalled that Pakistan received a special invitation to join the methane pledge club thanks to its successful and globally acclaimed green initiatives and programmes for climate change mitigation and adaptation – including the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, e-vehicle, renewable and ecosystem restoration projects.
PM’s aide Amin recalled that at a recent meeting, US Special Climate Change envoy John Kerry has vehemently lauded the climate change-related green initiatives launched in Pakistan under PM Imran Khan’s vision for a clean green and climate-resilient Pakistan.
“It’s one of those tools which can really assist us in avoiding the tipping point on climate change. This is a fast track solution,” he added.
Explaining about the sources of methane emissions, the PM’s aide said that countries represent a range of different methane emissions profiles, and as far as sources of the methane emissions in Pakistan is concerned agriculture is a major source that emits a significant quantity of the highly climate-potent odourless gas.
Several recent studies have already called for the need for governments to clamp down upon methane to slow down global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, an overarching goal of the global climate agreement signed in 2015 in Paris, he said.
Referring to a landmark UN scientific report released in August this year, Amin said that strong, rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions and slashing CO2 emissions could have a far-reaching impact on the climate.
He also said that the Global Change Impact Studies Center (GCISC), a climate change research arm of the climate change ministry, has prepared the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory for the year 2017- 2018 for Pakistan’s First Biennial Update Report (BUR1) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The estimation under the inventory shows the total emissions from Pakistan stand at around 489.87 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2eqv.) for the year 2018, with the energy sector contributing 218.94, industrial processes 25.76, agriculture, forestry and land use 223.45 and waste 21.72 MtCO2 equivalent, respectively, the PM’s aide spelt out.
Out of the total 489.87 Mt CO2 eq, as much as 135.89 Mt CO2 eq emissions are from methane, which includes 6.88Mt CO2 eq from the energy sector 2.95 MtCO2 eq from fuel combustion activities and 3.93 Mt CO2 eq are fugitive emissions from fuel, Malik Amin Aslam added.
The new signatories include Canada, the Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Micronesia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Guinea, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Malta, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Rwanda,
Sweden and Togo, the U.S. State Department and EU confirmed on Monday.
The US special climate change envoy said he hoped to have more than 100 countries signed up in time for the COP26 climate summit. “We look forward to welcoming all governments that are ready to tackle methane as the single fastest strategy that we have to keep a safer 1.5C future within reach,” Kerry said. More than 20 philanthropic organizations, including ones led by Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates, said on Monday they would mobilise over $223 million to support countries’ methane-reduction efforts. The countries involved represent a range of different methane emissions profiles.
“We all have different starting points and different local situations. But we also all have the possibility to reduce our methane emissions substantially,” European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans said.
A government official told Reuters the United States will engage with India and China to urge them to join the pledge in the weeks leading up to the UN climate summit.
Russian climate envoy Ruslan Edelgeriev said the country would analyse the initiative but did not confirm if it would join.
‘One move left’
Methane has a higher heat-trapping potential than CO2 but breaks down in the atmosphere faster.
The United States is due to release oil and gas methane regulations in the coming weeks, and the European Union will unveil detailed methane legislation later this year.
Canada will also bring forward regulation to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector at least 75% by 2030 from 2012 levels, climate minister Jonathan Wilkinson said on Monday.
Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which contributed to the $200 million fund, told Reuters the money will “help catalyze climate action” and that reducing methane is the quickest way to help carry out the 1.5-degree goal.
Durwood Zaelke, president of the Washington-based Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said the partnership was a “great start” for focusing the world’s attention on the need to slash methane.
“There’s one move left to keep the planet from catastrophe – cutting methane as fast as we can from all sources,” he said by email ahead of the announcement.