Pakistan is home to a number of ecosystems, each facing unique threats, making Pakistan and Pakistanis incredibly vulnerable to climate change. Pakistan needs to prioritize not only adaptation efforts but become part of a global collective to reduce carbon emissions.

We urge you to stand with the people of Pakistan, and those across the world, and immediately take steps to address the climate crisis by, first and foremost:

  1. Declaring a climate emergency;
  2. Demanding climate justice through a global coalition;
  3. Adopting a low-carbon economy; and
  4. Ensuring grassroot level climate adaptation efforts.

The climate crisis requires urgent action at every level to minimize irreversible damage to the planet’s biodiversity. We are facing extinction unless immediate steps are taken to reach zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by mid-century.

The failure of the international community to address the climate crisis brings undue burden on developing countries like Pakistan. Pakistan may not be a massive emitter of greenhouse gasses, but our population and economy are bearing a disproportionate burden as a consequence of global GHG emissions. Nevertheless, we believe that Pakistan’s Federal, provincial and local governments, as well as ordinary citizens, must accept responsibility and play their part in reducing GHG emissions, before we transition to a zero carbon economy. 

It is for this reason that we protest. Pakistan’s Climate Change Policy, 2012, to the extent that it is implemented at all, is ignorant of the growing climate challenges in the country. Fossil fuel-based commercial and industrial practices are no longer acceptable as a means of economic development, the returns of which are in turn inequitably distributed. These practices have polluted our soil, air and water and led to glaring social and economic disparities, whilst exacerbating the climate crisis. GHG intensive industries cannot form the basis of sustainable development. We believe the wasteful and inequitable consumption of resources, especially water, in particular by the export-oriented industry, needs to be checked. We believe Pakistan and Pakistanis can live within their means by redefining development. Development cannot and must not lead to ecocide and genocide.

We appreciate this Government’s commitment to afforestation and carbon capture through its Billion Tree Tsunami Projects, and encourage further linkages with civil society and local businesses to scale up tree-planting initiatives throughout the country. We look to the government’s coming update on Pakistan’s Nationally Determined Contributions (to be submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) to reflect the scale of the challenge Pakistan faces.

Summary of demands:

Declare a climate emergency

  1. Convene a meeting of the National Climate Change Council
  2. Include women and marginalized communities in decision and policy making
  3. Create a revised National Climate Change Policy
  4. Citizens become a part of the decision making process

Demand climate justice though a global coalition

  1. Hold developed countries accountable and financially liable for abetting the climate crisis
  2. Write-off of Pakistan’s debts and retain funds to build climate resilience
  3. Provide legal recognition and protection of climate affectees and migrants

Adopt a low-carbon economy

  1. Reward and incentivise carbon neutral economic activity
  2. Develop internal climate funds from any emissions-based activities
  3. Shift away from unsustainable farming practices
  4. Shift to renewable energy sources and outlaw fossil-fuel based sources

Ensure grassroot level climate adaptation efforts

  1. Redesign urban development to mitigate GHG emissions
  2. Formulate and enforce emissions standards for motor vehicles
  3. Develop a mass transit infrastructure
  4. Recognize air pollution as a public health emergency
  5. Protect water resources through sustainable utilization
  6. Halt all coal powered energy plants
  7. Develop standards for energy conservation and efficiency
  8. Assess the efficacy of systems in place to address the effects of the changing climate

See our complete Charter of Demands here, or download the print edition: