The two weeks Paris Climate Change conference in still on and world leaders are ready to meet in the Conference of the Parties (COP). It is one of the biggest events of the years and the nations are hammering out a new global agreement for bringing down the global greenhouse gas emissions.
The Intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) was to be presented by the governments to tell the plan how are they intending to stop climate change. In the case of Pakistan, the 350-word one page submitted to the UN as its INDC, which was considered as a very big shame and incompetence to realize the significance of the matter. Not even this but that INDC was submitted very late. Experts say that this portrayed the Pakistan “irrelevant” and a “laughing stock” in front of the international community.
While the world’s nations are meeting to set the plan for future, it is imperative to recognize that climate calamities are old in Pakistan and they are expanding as the time is flying.
Few weeks ago Pakistan was hit by an earthquake, and the floods have devastated large swathes of the country. While the nation is fighting an inland battle with terrorists, the climate calamities are causing crucial human and economic catastrophes, which is itself a security menace for Pakistan.
Coming back to the climate conference and Pakistan, the Tribune reported that a more substantive draft document the ministry of climate change put forward to the prime minister a few months ago, which pledged to reduce emissions between 5 and 18 percent. But the one presented to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was remodeled.
Sherry Rehman states in her opinion that, Pakistan is a country with less than 1 percent GHG emissions, but ranked 3rd among the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change, there is no ambiguity about Pakistan rating as a victim of climate injustice.
As per Tribune report, in 2015, collectively, a mini-cyclone in Peshawar killed 44 people, heat waves in Karachi killed more than 1,500 people, and cloudbursts in various areas of Gilgit-Baltistan affected 35,717 people while floods across the country killed 238 and affected more than 1.5 million people.
Pakistan cannot deny the perilously changing climate but still the government is making hollow promises rather showing any good intentions towards this intricacy. While the countries across the world promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), Pakistan, on the other hand, did not even gave the substantial plans for that.
Lack of commitment by the government was an immense diplomatic embarrassment for Pakistan on an international forum. Experts say that even Iraq’s INDC showed substantial commitments towards reducing the greenhouse emissions. Not only a very short INDC but an inappropriate one as well brought Pakistan into a lower position.
“The 350-word document contains several incorrect references such as our policies on agriculture, energy and water resources. Unfortunately, Pakistan has not formulated policies on all these vital topics”
says Shafqat Kakakhel, former ambassador and chairperson of the board of governors at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
That draft also suffered from some omissions such as adverse health impacts and Pakistan’s perspective on loss and damage. “The new document does not list Pakistan’s needs regarding mitigation, adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity building unlike the INDC documents submitted by all other developing countries,” he added.
Pakistan’s economy is losing billions of dollars from climatic events, but only Rs39.75 million was allocated for the Ministry of Climate Change in the 2015-16 budget.
Even after that embarrassment, no tangible commitments were floated. Pakistan can still do a lot in Paris Climate Conference. Though our Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s conversation with Indian counterpart was very much highlighted in media, but real concern was not given any space.
Pakistan being a climate affected country has to be aware of the fact that droughts, flood, and earthquakes along severe heat waves can not only damage the natural resources but to bring about great loss to our national wealth. This is also a hurdle in country’s sustainable development, which has to be looked upon seriously.