Islamabad, November 05, 2013 (PPI-OT): The 3-day International Conference on “Plants, People and Climate” began here Tuesday. The Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Mr. Zahid Hamid who was chief guest on the occasion, appreciated the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology for organizing this conference on the important issue of climate change.
In his address, he highlighted irony of the issue that the developing countries are the least responsible for climate change contributing only 10 percent of annual global carbon dioxide emissions but they are the ones which are the most vulnerable to the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change.
He stated that Pakistan being a developing country is in a similar situation. It has the least contribution to global warming i.e, ranked at 135th position in carbon dioxide emissions. Yet, it is faced with severe climate changes and has been ranked 3rdin the list of most vulnerable countries to climate change.
A recent report from World Bank warned Pakistan of the existence of five major risks related to climate change: rise in sea level, glacial retreats, floods, higher average temperature and higher frequency of droughts.
The Minister for Science and Technology ensured the participants that the government will take all necessary steps to implement the measures which will be suggested by the experts during the conference.
Mr. Kamran Ali Qureshi, Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology in his address, stated that the annual rate of deforestation in Pakistan ranges from 4-6 percent while carbon dioxide emissions are increasing annually at the rate of 8-10 percent which is an alarming trend.
The annual cost of restoring environment degraded as a result of this is up to US$ 5.2 billion. He stated that the Ministry of Science and Technology will support the programmes and projects identified by experts for meeting the challenges of climate change through applications of science and technology.
Speaking on the occasion, Raja Hasan Abbas Secretary Climate Change Division, informed that his Division is responsible for formulating national policies, plans, strategies and programmes with regard to disaster management including environmental protection, preservation, pollution, ecology, forestry, wildlife, biodiversity, climate change and desertification. Dr, Ahsan Raza, Pro-Rector National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad and Prof. Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Vice Chancellor Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology, Karachi speaking on the occasion, vowed that they will give due attention to climate change research in their respective universities.
Chairperson, Pakistan Council for Science and Technology, Prof. Dr. Mudassir Asrar in her address highlighted efforts of her organization to bring the issue of global warming and climate change on the forefront. She also mentioned that it is the 2nd International Conference which her organization is organizing on this important issue.
It is pertinent to mention that the conference brings together scholars, scientists, researchers, teachers and students from all over the country and abroad to share ideas, knowledge and experience about various aspects of global warming and resultant climate change. More than 125 researchers, including those from USA, China, Argentina, Poland, Iran and Nepal, will make presentations (oral or poster) in the conference.
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