A short-sighted approach
Nov 19 2018 | 10:10:46
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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