A seminar focusing on the escalating challenges posed by global warming and climate change convened experts who unanimously emphasized the imperative need for Pakistan to enact pragmatic and actionable legislation.
These measures are deemed essential to fortify the nation against the overwhelming impacts of climate change. This consensus emerged during a comprehensive round table discussion titled “Tipping Points: Overshoot Scenarios, A Point of No Return,” thoughtfully organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS).
Irreversible Tipping Points:
CEO of Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change (CSCCC), Ayesha Khan, issued a dire warning that the world teeters on the precipice of surpassing climate tipping points. Once crossed, these points would unleash irreversible consequences.
Khan’s emphasis on the potential for social unrest and the looming national and human security challenges underscored the gravity of the situation within Pakistan’s context.
Inadequate NDCs and Funding Challenges:
Aisha Khan candidly pointed out the shortcomings of Pakistan’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs). While the commitments were made, several projects initiated under previous administrations were found wanting in practicality and, crucially, funding.
To ensure sustained and apolitical efforts in climate change mitigation, Khan advocated for the establishment of a permanent body dedicated to addressing climate challenges.
Finance and Institutional Capacity:
Environmental lawyer, Ahmad Rafay Alam, echoed concerns over the unrealistic financial dimensions of Pakistan’s NDCs and adaptation plans. Furthermore, he highlighted the country’s limited institutional capacity to tackle the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change.
Effective Implementation Frameworks:
Zainab Naeem from the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) emphasized the need for robust and effective implementation frameworks. These frameworks are essential to translate Pakistan’s ambitious NDC targets into tangible actions.
Think Tank Diplomacy:
Zainab Naeem highlighted the collaborative efforts among think tanks to bolster climate diplomacy. She recommended the establishment of a dedicated ministry to manage loss and damage funds effectively, should they become operational.
Dr. Fazilda Nabeel, UNFAO Water and Climate Governance Specialist, championed the adoption of nature-based solutions. These solutions are pivotal in enhancing climate resilience and were prominently featured in climate mitigation projects showcased at COP-27.
Cryosphere Monitoring and Transboundary Water Issues:
Dr. Amjad Masood, a Glaciologist, underscored the capacity constraints in monitoring the cryosphere and permafrost region. Considering that a substantial portion of Pakistan’s water resources depend on glaciers, he urged addressing climate change in transboundary dialogues concerning water issues.
He lamented the inadequate prioritization of climate change in transboundary water discussions.
Incorporating Climate Education:
Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz, President of IRS, advocated for the integration of environmental education into school curricula at all educational levels. He stressed that climate change is a complex, borderless issue that warrants comprehensive education and awareness.
Fossil Fuel Challenge:
Talha Tufail Bhatti, Associate Research Officer at the Climate Change desk, culminated the discussions by identifying the root of the climate change problem—the consumption of fossil fuels. This acknowledgment underscored the need for a shift toward sustainable energy sources.
The seminar served as an urgent call to action, highlighting the pressing need for Pakistan to enact pragmatic climate legislation. The insights shared by experts underscored the imperative of strengthening resilience, implementing practical strategies, and fostering international cooperation to address the far-reaching impacts of climate change. As the world edges closer to irreversible tipping points, these actions take on heightened significance within Pakistan and the global context.