Climate Challenge By Zafar Ali Buledi

The recent COP 27— the United Nations Climate Change Conference— from 6 November to 20 November this year in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt— took several decisions to combat the burning issue of climate change. COPs are an important instrument in the climate change initiative tool box.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the main decision-making body of the UN Climate Change Conference (UNCCC). The first COP was held in Berlin- Germany in 1995, and later on in major cities around the world. As a result of these events, several treaties and funding apparatus have developed.

According to the mainstream scientific consensus including major reports by the Inter-Governmental Panel of Climate Change published in 2022, the reality is far worse than predicted. The most radical and sweeping cuts would only help stop an environmental catastrophe as the world is about to reach a global temperature rise of 1.5°C within the next 20 years. The most alarming aspect of the report is that the world temperature could rise up to 4°C till the end of the century if drastic actions are not taken.

In the recent conference, the delegates and members of civil society pushed leaders for urgent and timely climate action that the world needs. The purpose of this year’s conference was to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. There were two main overriding themes: justice and ambition.

Justice is for those on the frontlines who did so little to cause the crisis, including the victims of the recent floods in Pakistan that almost swamped one third of the country. On the other hand, ambition is to keep alive the goal of 1.5°, the red line we must not cross, and bring back humankind from the climate cliff-edge.

The climate challenge is a gigantic one that demands all kinds of changes. Survival and prosperity of humanity is at risk. The consequences of climate change are not local but global. We must responsibly consider that It’s time to take collective action to prevent the looming disaster. If not, all of us will suffer. Together we can make the world better.
Equally important is to rebuild the broken trust and climate financing. Climate financing is crucially important for developing countries. Developing countries need financial assistance to rebuild physical and social infrastructure devastated by extreme weather such as heavy rains and floods in Pakistan and other several countries.

At the same time, reaching on an agreement for funding will be a major landmark. The “Loss and damage” fund must be set up immediately and filled with cash with a reliable roadmap for the developing economies suffering from devastating impacts of climate change. It is unclear yet on how the finances would be provided and from where.

In a report by the Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the potential economic and social impacts of environmental degradation are particularly serious with developing countries due to dependence on natural resources for economic growth and the vulnerability to energy, food, water security, climate change and extreme weather risk.

It is appropriate to mention here that many governments have also established some form of structure that begins to address their environmental problems. However, there are inherent barriers within these governments such as corruption, bureaucratic inefficiencies and lack of political willingness that are preventing visible differences from being seen. All the while, wealthy nations have capitalized on industrial technology that have encouraged these problems. They did it first. But we need to tackle these challenges.

However, there are two things to keep in mind. First of all, the root cause of what is causing this— the emissions being ejected into the atmosphere. We need to invest enormously in renewable sources of energy, and not rely so much on fossil fuels. Depending on fossil fuel is doubling the problem. The partnership for just energy transmission is very important.

So, emissions need to be cut down, and that is the immense task. Moreover, particularly after the pandemic, and also the energy crisis in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the energy issue has further aggravated. So, in the wake of such crises, the question is how the world would deal with those impacts to minimize the damages of adaptation. So, these, among others, are two multi-pronged challenges the world is facing now.

For this challenge to be met, an extra effort is required by all countries to reduce emissions to achieve the desired goal. It needs the critical role of indigenous communities and the voice of civil society. It is rightly said that the most dynamic and vibrant source in the world is people power.

The world should take the climate challenge more seriously and it is extremely important. Education and awareness programmes, climate related research, knowledge sharing and data collection will be highly useful to achieve the desired goal. Besides, early warning systems and forecasts would immensely help addressing climate-related challenges. This will require serious commitment to a greener future— pathways towards mitigation and adaptation.

The climate challenge is a gigantic one that demands all kinds of changes. Survival and prosperity of humanity is at risk. The consequences of climate change are not local but global. We must responsibly consider that It’s time to take collective action to prevent the looming disaster. If not, all of us will suffer. Together we can make the world better.


Source: https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/05/climate-challenge/

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