Sharif: discussions with world leaders focused on climate action plan, trade

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NEW YORK: Shehbaz Sharif has said his meetings with the world leaders on the sidelines of the 77th annual session of the United Nations General Assembly focused on the need to deal with the threat of climate change and enhance trade partnerships.

“In my interactions with the world leaders on the sidelines of UNGA Session, I apprised them of the flood disaster and highlighted the need for a collective action to deal with climate change,” the prime minister tweeted from New York, where he’s gone to attend the summit, on Wednesday.

Sharif highlighted Pakistan’s intent to strengthen ties with other countries relating to trade and economy.

“I also told them Pakistan is keen to build partnerships in the realms of trade and economy,” he added.

According to a new analysis, climate action promised by countries would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 9 percent in this decade — far short of the global goal of cutting emissions by nearly half by 2030.

Failing to meet the 2030 emissions target risks pushing the world toward irreversible climate impacts, even if a second goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is met, scientists say.

Pakistan has been battered by drastic weather extremes since the start of the year. Deadly heatwaves sent temperatures above 50C (122F) in the spring, followed by huge wildfires and crippling droughts.

But the floods that have left a third of the provinces underwater in recent weeks have brought with them a new level of human misery — and a glimpse into the apocalyptic impact of the climate emergency in one of the countries least responsible for it.

In all, 33 million people in Pakistan — equivalent to half the population of the United Kingdom — have been affected. Experts say it will take months for the waters to fully drain from Sindh, the hardest-hit province.

Agricultural land has been devastated, and huge quantities of livestock lost. Roads and railway lines have also been washed away.

The aforementioned analysis, published by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, tallied countries’ climate plans — known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs. The result “highlights the gap in the ambition of NDCs and the trajectory necessary to meet net-zero emissions by 2050,” the report said.

The report said territories such as the United States and European Union pledging net-zero emissions by 2050 are on track to reduce emissions from 2015 levels by only 27 percent by 2030. Countries like China and India pledging to reach net-zero after 2050 would actually see emissions rise by 10 percent through this decade.

— With input from Reuters