A short-sighted approach

Nov 19 2018 | 10:01:46
THE Paris Agreement in 2015 at the 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21, was a watershed moment in global efforts to combat climate change. As one of the signatories to the agreement and the Agenda of Solutions, which will apply from 2020, Pakistan submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC that outlines its pledges and plans for climate action. Additionally, Pakistan has adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and become a member of the Open Government Partnership which calls for co-creation of policies and frameworks at local, provincial and national levels by government and civil society, using participatory and inclusive approaches to build resilience and reduce vulnerability. This places a responsibility on Pakistan to support global action on climate change and, at the same time, balance development needs with mitigation and adaptation strategies to implement policies and frameworks at the national and international levels.There are two reasons why a strong presence at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, next month is important. Firstly, it is expected that the Paris Rule — a framework of operating procedures for countries to fulfil their obligations under the treaty — will be finalised at the event. Secondly, there is a new urgency to respond to a call for action based on the findings of 91 scientists in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These show that Plan A as envisaged in the Paris Agreement is not a viable option any longer and a Plan B needs to be developed.
                                                                Pakistan must play a more proactive role in global climate change efforts.

The report has created alarm in many circles because it states in unambiguous terms that the two-degree Celsius increase in temperature is no longer a safe option. According to the document, the temperature range must remain below the 1.5°C threshold to avoid catastrophic events including famine, disease and displacement resulting from sea-level rise, drought and hydro-meteorological phenomena. To maintain the status quo, emissions must decrease 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030. Furthermore, the report also cautions that reducing emissions is not enough in itself to prevent global warming. There is also an urgent need to suck up one trillion metric tonnes of carbon that has accumulated in the biosphere.Given Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change, it is very important for the country to attend all post-Paris Agreement meetings to ensure that its concerns are included in the deliberations and the Paris Rule Book. The deadline for finalising implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement is only a month away.
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