Pakistani civil society says COP26 fails to address climate change challenges

Prominent activists argue big corporations still engaged in leasing, mining and execution of fossil fuel-based projects across globe

Minute Mirror - Subscribe
Minute Mirror - Subscribe

Civil society activists on Saturday said that COP26 failed to address climate change challenges as it could not meet the goal of $100bn financing annually to address the issues globally.

Activists expressed these views during a press conference held at the Lahore Press Club wherein the climate justice march was announced for November 8. Ahmed Rafay Alam, Farooq Tariq, Irfan Mufti, Hina Shahid and Saima Zia and others were the key speakers at the presser.

The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is taking place in the Scottish city of Glasgow, being hosted by the United Kingdom and Italy. COP26 is aimed at a commitment to enhanced ambition towards mitigation of climate change.

However, concerned quarters in Pakistan have expressed their reservations over the commitments of leaders attending the COP26.

In a joint statement at the press conference today, civil society activists said that despite the fact that 19 countries pledged to stop fossil fuel-based projects, big fossil fuel corporations were still engaged in leasing, mining and execution of coal and fossil fuel-based projects around the world.

“The agreements of these projects must be cancelled as soon as possible,” they demanded and said that Pakistan also announced to phase-out coal based energy last year but the projects with the support of China were still undergoing.

They said that the coal supply companies signed a six-year supply contract which should be cancelled. “Fossil-based energy is detrimental to the environment as well as expensive. Gas- and oil-based energy must be phased out with renewable energy systems,” they demanded.

Ahmad Rafay Alam, an environment lawyer, said that currently, a large population around the globe was facing the air pollution challenges but the Glasgow climate change summit failed to take any decision on it. He lamented that Prime Minister Imran Khan, with all his pretense of concern for climate, did not attend the COP26 meeting.

Farooq Tariq said that the PTI government could not pay heed to tackling environmental challenges. He claimed that due to the government’s negligence, Pakistan’s second biggest city, Lahore, had been declared the most polluted city on earth. He added that pollution and climate change were a big challenge for Pakistan, but the government of Imran Khan was only paying lip-service to these issues.

He said, “It is important that in order to tackle the problem of pollution and climate change, mega projects such as the Ravi River Urban development project need to be immediately stopped. Projects like these will add further pollution to Lahore’s atmosphere.”

The speakers announced to take the climate movement in Pakistan forward while announcing the Climate Justice March on November 8. “The issue of climate justice can’t be left only to the political parties and it is important that the climate movement is spread to every nook and corner of the country.”

Samiullah Randhawa is a correspondent covering environment, climate change, food, water and ecology. He is an International Center For Journalists alumnus and a fellow at Kettering Foundation Ohio, USA. He has won two Agahi Awards for reporting on climate change and water crisis. He tweets @sami_randhawa and can be reached at