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Climate Change Can Combat Unemployment by Creating 14 Mn Jobs

The release of the research comes just ahead of next week's Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, a global gathering of policymakers, scientists, businesses and activists committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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Can the trapped Paris Climate Agreement be rescued? Flickr
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As cities around the world accelerate efforts to meet their commitments to the Paris climate agreement, a new research on Sunday showed that ambitious urban climate policies can vastly reduce carbon emissions globally.

The research has been conducted by C40 Cities, The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and the NewClimate Institute.

Titled “Climate Opportunity: More Jobs; Better Health; Liveable Cities”, the research estimates that by 2030 a boost in urban climate action can prevent approximately 1.3 million premature deaths per year, generate 13.7 million jobs in cities and save 40 billion hours of commuters’ time plus billions of dollars in reduced household expenses each year.

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The research has been conducted by C40 Cities, The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and the NewClimate Institute. VOA

Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the report examines a number of effective urban solutions to climate change, including energy efficiency retrofits in buildings, enhanced bus networks and district-scale renewable energy.

It shows that these climate actions are strong drivers of positive public health and economic outcomes across countries and regions.

Its findings show investments in residential energy efficiency retrofits will result in a net creation of 5.4 million jobs in cities worldwide.

These investments will also result in significant household savings, as well as emissions reductions.

Improved bus services and more extensive networks can prevent the premature deaths of nearly one million people per year from air pollution and traffic fatalities worldwide.

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It shows that these climate actions are strong drivers of positive public health and economic outcomes across countries and regions. Pixabay

It says district-scale renewable energy for heating and cooling in buildings can prevent a further 300,000 premature deaths per year by 2030, as well as create approximately 8.3 million jobs and contribute to significant emissions reductions.

Overall, climate action policies can have proportionally greater outcomes for lower income groups in developing cities, where populations have the most to gain from the introduction of new technologies.

“Climate Opportunity shows what the mayors of the world’s great cities have known for a long time: climate, public health, and a strong economy are deeply connected,” C40 Cities Executive Director Mark Watts said in a statement.

“We need cities around the world to implement the bold climate policies detailed in this report, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.”

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Climate action policies can have proportionally greater outcomes for lower income groups in developing cities.

Thomas Day, partner at NewClimate Institute who led the research, said: “Cities account for 73 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, making large-scale climate action in urban areas an urgent focus of efforts to meet the highest goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Also Read: Paris Agreement In Full Swing. Developed Countries Urged To Honour It

The release of the research comes just ahead of next week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, a global gathering of policymakers, scientists, businesses and activists committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In the lead-up to the summit, C40 Cities and the Global Covenant of Mayors invited mayors to enhance their commitments to bold climate action, as part of the “One Planet Charter.” (IANS)

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Pakistan Reacts Sharply To U.S. Religious Freedom Charges

China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are also included in the U.S. list of countries accused

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A Pakistani nun holds a candle during a vigil for victims of a deadly suicide bombing in a park, March 28, 2016, in Lahore. VOA

Pakistan is denouncing a U.S. decision to place it on a list of countries Washington says are the worst offenders of religious freedom.

“Pakistan does not need counsel by any individual country how to protect the rights of its minorities… there are serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise,” the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a strongly-worded statement.

The reaction comes a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced his designation of “countries of particular concern” that allegedly have engaged in or tolerated ”systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Freedom Violations

The countries on the blacklist are exposed to punitive sanctions, but Pompeo waived them for Pakistan, citing U.S. national interests.

Pakistan had until now been on a U.S. watch list for governments that have “engaged in or tolerated” severe violations of religious freedom.

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Pakistani volunteers collect debris from an Ahmadi mosque demolished by an angry mob, in the eastern city of Sialkot. VOA

While rebuking Tuesday’s U.S. pronouncement as “unilateral and politically motivated,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry noted Pakistan is “a multi-religious and pluralistic society” of more than 200 million people, mostly Muslims.

“Around four percent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Buddhists and Sikh faiths. Ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the Constitution of Pakistan,” it said.

Ahmadis most persecuted community

The statement did not mention the Ahmadi sect, which critics say is the most persecuted minority in Pakistan. The constitution bars the community from “posing as Muslims” and from calling their worship places “mosques.”

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback while defending downgrading of Pakistan reiterated Tuesday the challenges facing the Ahmadi community.

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Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington. VOA

“The Pakistani government criminalizes the identification of Ahmadis as Muslims, and then also — and this one has really been difficult and troubling for a lot of people — the government often fails to hold accountable perpetrators of killings and violence against members of religious minorities targeted on account of their religious beliefs or affiliations,” said Brownback.

Blasphemy laws

He cited, among other things, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws as a cause for the downgrade of the country’s religious freedom ranking. The laws prescribe the death penalty for those found guilty.

Rights groups have long complained Islamist groups misuse the law to intimidate minorities in the country.

Insulting Islam or its prophet is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan where mere allegations have led to mob lynchings. A former provincial governor, a federal minister, judges and lawyers are among those assassinated in Pakistan by extremists merely for calling for reform of the blasphemy laws to prevent their misuse or for hearing cases and defending alleged blasphemers.

Asia Bibi

In a historic judgement this past October, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who had been on death row for eight years after being convicted of insulting the Prophet Mohammad. The women denied the charges from the outset as an outcome of a local feud and the country’s highest court cited lack of evidence in overturning her conviction by a lower court.

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Radical Islamists rally to condemn a Supreme Court decision that acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, who spent eight years on death row accused of blasphemy, in Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

Bibi and her family have been in hiding since her release. Her lawyer fled Pakistan shortly after the landmark court ruling announced on October 31, saying his life was in danger.

Bibi is awaiting a rehearing of her case by the Supreme Court and is residing in a safe place under government protection, say Pakistani officials.

Pakistan also arrested hundreds of Islamist activists and their leaders last month for staging days of mass violent protests to denounce the court for freeing Bibi.

Also Read: Muslims in Malaysia Rally In Kuala Lumpur To Keep Status

The government has charged the detainees with treason and terrorism and officials have vowed to put them on trial in special courts.

“It’s our hope that they will, the new leadership in Pakistan, will work to improve the situation. There was some encouraging signs seen recently on how they’ve handled some of the recent protesting against the blasphemy laws, and we continue to watch very carefully what’s happening to Asia Bibi,” said Brownback.

China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are also included in the U.S. list of countries accused of committing severe violations of religious freedom. (VOA)