by Zia Ur Rehman
June 27, 2019
Joining the global campaign demanding from nations with major economies attending this weekend’s G20 summit to stop fossil fuels and back renewable energy, fishermen on Wednesday organised a protest rally in the coastal neighborhood of Ibrahim Haideri to demand of the government to depend on renewables, such as solar and wind for energy requirement.
The Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, a fishermen’s rights body, organised the women’s rally, which was attended by a large number of residents, particularly women, of coastal areas. Participants said that concerned residents and activists had globally been demanding to have a transition from fossil fuels to renewables in order to save the climate.
“The burning of coal and other fossil fuels and the destruction of nature in a system of extraction and production are primarily about growth and profit accumulation rather than people’s need. It is the root cause of excessive and continuously increasing greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere, which in turn is causing the climate crisis,” said Saeed Baloch, the PFF’s secretary general.
He said that Pakistan is ranked as the 7th vulnerable country to climate change and the country in the past two decades had suffered various types of extreme weathers, such as floods, heatwaves and cyclones.
“The climate crisis has thus far claimed thousands of lives, displaced millions of people, and brought about extremely tragic devastation in the world’s many parts, including Pakistan,” Baloch told The News.
“The solution requires the overhaul of this system – but it also requires immediate changes along the way if we are to prevent the climate crisis from reaching greater catastrophic levels, and keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“People across the world, especially from developing countries, have been started raising their voices against the use of dirty fossil fuels in power generation,” Baloch said. “But sadly, our politicians, government officials and policymakers are still unaware about it.”
Earlier this week, a group of rights activists and fishermen leaders, spoke at the press conference and said that a large number of countries, including Pakistan, endorsed the stopping use of fossil fuels and coal for energy through “Paris Agreement”, a universal agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change, in 2015.
Speakers included Baloch and Fatima Mjeed from the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Nasir Mansoor from the National Trade Union Federation Pakistan and Zehra Khan from the Home-Based Women Workers Federation, and rights activist Naghma Shaikh.
“Unfortunately, Pakistan which had agreed to the Paris Agreement has been using coal and fossil fuel extensively for producing electricity in a situation where the country has been facing effects of climate change and global warming,” Baloch said.
On June 28 and 29, the Group of Twenty or G20 will hold its annual Summit in Osaka, Japan. As the forum of the world’s wealthiest nations, theG20 accounts for about two-thirds of the world’s population, represent more than 85 percent of the global GDP, and account for more than 80 percent of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. This means G20 governments carry a huge part of the responsibility to stop the global expansion of coal and fossil fuel industries and push for the swift and just transition to 100 percent renewable and democratic energy systems.
An immediate first step towards this is for all G20 governments to stop all public subsidies to coal and fossil fuels, activists said. They also demanded of the countries, including Pakistan, to stop the expansion of coal and fossil fuels and to swift transition to 100 percent renewable energy.