The United Nations Campus at Bonn saw international leaders and activists congregate for the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP23. Representing Pakistan was the ruling Muslim League N’s favourite anti opposition vitriol machine and Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan. A lawyer by training, Senator Khan had seemingly no credentials to merit his appointment as the Minister of Climate Change. This comes at a time when Pakistan ranks seventh on the list of countries most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. Khan’s performance at COP23 was overshadowed by his insistence on sticking to prepared remarks and subsequent inability to provide extempore remarks to the moderator’s questions. Back home, media outlets picked up on this, refusing to focus on the more substantive issues at the hand at the most significant climate meeting since the Paris Summit. The significance of the climate change portfolio can be accessed from the earlier sacking of Senator Mushahidullah. In an interview, the then Minister accused DG Inter Services Intelligence of trying to engineer a coup against the civilian leadership by supporting Imran Khan’s sit-in “Azadi March”. As a result he was forced to relinquish his ministry. Such was the importance accorded to the ministry by the then ruling Muslim League, that it was sacrificed to appease Rawalpindi. As mentioned earlier, Pakistan is massively vulnerable to rising temperatures. With exponential and unsustainable population growth and a single-minded approach towards bolstering the economy and curbing terrorism on a governmental level, the environment often gets ignored. However the losses are very tangible. The Climate Risk Index of 2017 tells us that annually an estimated 505 lives are lost in extreme weather events in Pakistan with 0.65% lost from the country’s GDP. With one fourth of the country’s output and two-fifths of employment dependent on agriculture and fishing, conserving natural resources is of the utmost importance. The IMF lists water scarcity as an economic threat to Pakistan. The consequences of water stress are already becoming increasingly visible in urban and rural areas. DW calls water scarcity a bigger threat to Pakistan than terrorism with experts at the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources predicting that the country is expected to dry up by 2025. The Climate Risk Index of 2017 tells us that annually an estimated 505 lives are lost in extreme weather events in Pakistan with 0.65% lost from the country’s GDP One of the most water intensive countries in the world, there is an increasing trend of blaming neighbouring India for her water woes, with terms such as “water terrorism” hot on the nation’s airwaves. Former WAPDA Chairman says that there is s nonexistent water policy in the country. Alongside these problems are the looming threats of soil erosion, air pollution (smog in urban centres), marine water pollution, natural disasters, desertification and deforestation to name a few. A document called the Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy was introduced in 2014 for a fifteen-year period. However lack of coordination and misplaced priorities lend this framework the status of being just a piece of paper. Thus, from the aforementioned challenges, it is clear the freshly sworn in PTI government has its job cut out for itself. With the Billion Tree Tsunami in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the PTI has something to show for its environmental credentials. It also passed the Environmental Protection Act of 2014 and has a robust environmental policy in its manifesto. The party owes much of this to the career environmentalist at the helm of these affairs for the PTI, Malik Amin Aslam Khan. Recently notified as the PM’s advisor on Climate Change, Aslam has a wealth of experience in environmental issues. Educated at UET and McGill, Aslam also has an MSc in Environmental Management from Oxford. He has served as a climate consultant for the United Nations and the World Bank and has served on various governmental bodies regarding climate change. His leadership on environmental issues can also be gauged from the fact that he was elected to the governing council of the IUCN in 2011 and later as a regional councillor for South Asia. An ex-minister from the Musharraf era, Aslam has been a familiar face in Attock politics for more than a decade. This election cycle, he showed impeccable grace and poise by accepting the party’s decision to award the tickets for Attock to Major Tahir Sadiq. Regardless, Aslam stuck with his party and was awarded with a cabinet position. Despite the mammoth challenges, it certainly seems that the PTI is much better equipped to deal with these hurdles. Ignoring political affiliations, one hopes that their efforts for the country and for the environment bear fruit. The writer is a student of Public Policy at the Wagner School, New York University. His interests include cricket, South Asian politics and political Islam Published in Daily Times, August 28th 2018.