The US has finally invited Pakistan to an upcoming climate change summit after initially ignoring the country, leaving government officials puzzled.
Malik Amin Aslam, the prime minister’s adviser on climate change, told Anadolu Agency on Monday that he would represent Pakistan at the two-day virtual summit, which is slated to be held on April 22 and 23.
In a letter to Aslam, a copy of which was made available to Anadolu Agency, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said: “On behalf of the President of the United States, it is my pleasure to invite you to be a distinguished speaker at the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate. We would like to ask you to join other ministers and leaders on April 22 in a discussion focused on climate adaptation and resilience.”
“It is our hope that you can contribute Pakistan’s valuable perspective to a session focused on climate adaptation and resilience to be hosted by the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack,” it added.
US President Joe Biden last month invited 40 world leaders to the Leaders Summit on Climate “to galvanize efforts by the major economies to tackle the climate crisis.”
He, however, did not invite Washington’s longtime ally Islamabad, prompting Prime Minister Imran Khan to openly express his displeasure over the US snub.
Thank you @JoeBiden for listening to concerns raised by numerous constituents and experts including myself regarding exclusion of key countries from your #ClimateChange summit this week. Pleased to see that #Pakistan has now been invited cc: @alizaidi46 https://t.co/Hb1NVicnnr
— ☮️ Saleem H. Ali (@saleem_ali) April 19, 2021
The virtual summit follows Washington’s return to the 2016 Paris agreement on climate change after the Trump administration formally left the accord last year, saying it was in America’s “economic interests” to do so.
Combatting global warming
The United States has invited the leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which includes the 17 countries responsible for about 80 per cent of global emissions and GDP, as well as heads of countries that are especially vulnerable to climate impacts or are demonstrating strong climate leadership.
The US president has placed global warming at the heart of his agenda and has already made waves domestically by pledging to make the energy sector emissions neutral by 2035, followed by the economy as a whole by 2050.
He has also placed a hold on new oil and gas drilling on federal lands and offshore, and is expected to soon seek a $2 trillion infrastructure package from Congress that would serve as the engine of future economic growth.
Biden dispatched his climate envoy, former secretary of state John Kerry, to prepare the ground for the summit in meetings with European leaders earlier this month.
The meeting comes as the world is lagging badly in its efforts to limit end-of-century warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), which scientists say is necessary to avoid triggering climate tipping points that would leave much of the planet inhospitable.
In an assessment of pledges made in recent months by around 75 countries and the European Union, UN Climate Change said that only around 30 per cent of global emissions were covered in the commitments.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk