The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) links climate change directly and indirectly to human activity for altering the composition of the global atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) notes that ‘human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history’.
In 2014, global emissions reached ~10 GtC which increased
the cumulative emissions (since 1750) to ~590 GtC. The IPCC has estimated that
in order to keep global temperature increase below 2ºC, the cumulative carbon
budget of 1000 Gets cannot be exceeded. If current emission trends continue, we
may end up exhausting this budget by 2045. This will push global average
temperature to cross the 3ºC threshold by 2100, which will have far reaching
repercussions on the development of many regions, including Pakistan.
Pakistan's vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change is well documented and recognized. Over the years, Pakistan has experienced several extreme weather events, including widespread floods in Sindh and Punjab and cyclones in the coastal regions. This has cost Pakistan over US$18 billion in annual economic losses, affecting more than 38 million people. Pakistan is a low emitter but high on the vulnerability index. The disproportionate impacts of climate change on Pakistan will become a threat multiplier and hamper the country’s ability to meet the social and economic needs of its people and increase risks to human and environmental security. In order to meet this challenge it is important to work with all stakeholders and forge strategies that are realistic and implementable and have the support of all parties.
Local actions and global agreements will ultimately decide the future of the planet and the life quality of people living in different parts of the world. However much will depend on how the principles of “Common but Differentiated Responsibility” are interpreted/applied and the will of nations to ensure that “No One is Left Behind”