: UK High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner with Special Assistant to PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam during his visit to a wind farm in Gharo, District Thatta (Sindh). Image Credit: Supplied

ISLAMABAD: The British High Commission has launched a bid to secure 26 companies to make ‘Race to Zero’ pledges by the upcoming COP 26 Climate Change Conference.

British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner, who has been visiting Karachi to launch the race to get 26 companies operating in Pakistan to commit to net zero emissions by 2050, reiterated close cooperation between the corporate sector of the two countries to harness the power of renewable energy at Zephyr Wind Farm at Gharo.

During his visit, the UK high commissioner was accompanied by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam.

The high commissioner saw how the British funds had helped create green energy investments enabling Pakistan to replace coal power.

So far, 12 companies in Pakistan are committed — including one after meeting the High Commissioner on his visit. With one month to go until the COP 26 global climate change conference hosted in the UK, the UK Government is looking for more to take the leap.

Globally, more than 3,000 companies have signed up for zero emissions commitments in 2050 as part of COP 26.

Environment-focused trip

The High Commissioner’s visit was part of an environment and climate-focused trip to Pakistan’s biggest metropolis to see first-hand some of the challenges – and some of the innovative solutions – Pakistan is offering as part of world action on climate change.

The High Commissioner also held a meeting with Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah to discuss close cooperation in clean energy initiatives.

Dr Turner was also shown how Pakistan is using nature-based solutions to help repair the environment and protect livelihoods – through the regeneration of a mangrove forest near to the wind farm. Studies have shown mangrove barriers are cheaper and 50 times more cost-effective than concrete barriers when it comes to tidal flood protections.

Litter-picking activity at Karachi beach

Later, the High Commissioner took part in litter picking – a personal passion of his - at Clifton Beach to mark World Maritime Day. Some 8 million tons of plastic end up every year in the world’s seas, which are swallowed by or entangled marine animals, causing injuries and deaths and threatening the survival of certain species.

Dr Christian Turner CMG said “Pakistan is tackling climate change – and protecting the beauty of the natural world - and these are two key areas which the UK-hosted COP 26 conference will be focusing on.

“I’m encouraging 26 Pakistani firms to sign a commitment to make net zero emissions commitments in 2050 as part of COP 26. 12 are committed but we need more companies to come forward. Together we can do this.”

The High Commissioner also met key business leaders from the “Top 6” UK firms in Pakistan - (Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, SCB, GSK, UBL and Shell) which contribute over 1% to Pakistan’s annual GDP, and rank among the biggest corporate taxpayers. He also met media house owners where he discussed the importance of a free media for accountability in a well-functioning democracy and welcomed the Protection of Journalists and Other Media Practitioners bill passed by the Sindh Assembly in May.