A Global Is­sue

Cli­mate Change is an is­sue that the world must con­front with in­creas­ing se­ri­ous­ness. Pak­istan has be­come a sig­na­tory to the Paris Agree­ment on Cli­mate Change but it looks like the coun­try still needs to de­velop a na­tional cli­mate change strat­egy.

Southasia - - CONTENTS - By Zee­shan Ahmed

Pak­istan has rat­i­fied the Paris Agree­ment on Cli­mate Change. Its rat­i­fi­ca­tion is in line with its firm com­mit­ment to the pur­poses and ob­jec­tives of the Cli­mate Con­ven­tion. It also highlights the re­solve of Pak­istan to re­main fully com­mit­ted to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Paris Agree­ment.

Cli­mate change and global warm­ing are se­ri­ous is­sues that the world faces and the threat keeps in­creas­ing with ev­ery pass­ing day. It can be said that while the world has count­less is­sues, they all pale in front of it. It af­fects the en­tire planet and has been dam­ag­ing it greatly. If things are left as they are, there would be no re­turn from the catas­tro­phe.

Sev­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions, both gov­ern­men­tal and non-gov­ern­men­tal, have been try­ing to cre­ate awareness re­gard­ing the is­sue. On De­cem­ber 12, 2015, a big mile­stone was achieved, which will de­ter­mine the di­rec­tion for the times to come. Called Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties to the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, or more com­monly known as the ‘Paris Con­fer­ence,’ the first ever agree­ment on a global level was signed. There are around 195 na­tions in­volved, in­clud­ing Pak­istan, which par­tic­i­pated. All of them agreed on the ini­tia­tive. The pri­mary ob­jec­tive of the agree­ment is to re­duce global warm­ing to well be­low 2 de­gree Cel­sius i.e. 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius. More­over, it was de­cided that devel­op­ing na­tions would be as­sisted in tack­ling global warm­ing. Also, there is a pro­vi­sion of grant­ing $100 bil­lion an­nu­ally to the cause by de­vel­oped coun­tries from 2020. There was a pledge made by the devel­op­ing coun­tries to bring down the GHG (Green­house

gases) emis­sions level in their coun­tries. The plan will be re­vised ev­ery 5 years. On Novem­ber 4, 2016, the agree­ment was of­fi­cially set in mo­tion.

Pak­istan’s del­e­ga­tion, con­sist­ing of of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Cli­mate Change as well as Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, be­sides peo­ple be­long­ing to civil so­ci­ety, for­warded their case and were able to hold their ground. This was quite pos­i­tive, as Pak­istan’s stance was put in front of the world. Pak­istan’s firm take on global warm­ing is def­i­nitely ap­pre­cia­ble, and the need of the time, but there are still a lot of is­sues that it needs to deal with.

In the last decade or so Pak­istan has suf­fered from a num­ber of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. A few of them were di­rectly caused by the change in the en­vi­ron­ment. A good ex­am­ple is the smog that en­velopes La­hore and other cities in Pun­jab, come win­ters. The pol­luted water, air and dam­ag­ing changes to the ecosys­tem are all a part of the sit­u­a­tion. This pol­lu­tion and other is­sues need to be taken care of quite se­ri­ously but is Pak­istan will­ing to go down that path?

The po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty in the coun­try over­rides ev­ery­thing else, whether it is the econ­omy, ed­u­ca­tion, health, agri­cul­ture, trans­port, agri­cul­ture and so many other ar­eas. Can Pak­istan set aside its po­lit­i­cal ten­sions? More­over, can the po­lit­i­cal par­ties, along with other en­ti­ties in the gov­ern­ment, come to­gether to deal with such is­sues? There needs to be more awareness re­gard­ing cli­mate change and global warm­ing. The lat­ter is eas­ily ig­nored and its var­i­ous threats triv­i­al­ized. Can peo­ple in Pak­istan be­come ed­u­cated about the en­vi­ron­ment and in­structed to fol­low guide­lines to erad­i­cate pol­lu­tion? A coun­try which lacks se­ri­ously in sci­ence of­ten loses track of fac­tual sci­ence. Also, is the gov­ern­ment will­ing to take nec­es­sary steps against those in­dus­tries that do not fol­low the en­vi­ron­ment pro­to­cols?

It is highly per­ti­nent for Pak­istan to re­al­ize that its needs a clear en­vi­ron­ment pol­icy. There are fre­quent re­ports of forests be­ing cut down, com­mon oc­cur­rences of flood­ing, the need for dis­pos­ing of and treat­ing waste and the over­all in­ci­dence of ris­ing pol­lu­tion. Apart from the ob­ser­va­tion of Earth Hour ob­ser­va­tion ev­ery year and plan­ta­tion drives, there is noth­ing more. It also ap­pears that Pak­istan’s will to progress in tech­no­log­i­cal terms can give way to more is­sues if the en­vi­ron­ment is not the re­quired im­por­tance.

It needs to be pointed out that while Pak­istan’s in­ten­tions may be clear on the mat­ter, it needs to make more de­lib­er­ate ef­forts to pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment as the clock is tick­ing and the sound is get­ting louder by the day.

In the last decade or so Pak­istan has suf­fered from a num­ber of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

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