ISLAMABAD, OCT 25 /DNA/ – Adil Najam, Dean Emeritus at the Boston University, USA has said that the richer countries in Global North must fulfil their commitment of carbon reduction while the poor countries like Pakistan needs to adapt to climate change and develop resilience to natural disasters.
He was delivering a lecture titled, ‘From Indus to Sharm El Sheikh: A Desi Perspective on Climate Change’ here at Sustainable Development Policy Institute. He said climate is no longer a future issue, so the use of future connotation for climate makes people believe that they have more time whereas recent extreme climate events proved otherwise. The context of climate change for Pakistan is not the same as it is for rest of the world, particularly the global north, he said, adding that “we have lost the window of opportunity where we together could control climate change and now the impact on every country is different.”
For Pakistan, he maintained, the real barometer is Indus. How climate change interacts with us is not the same as rest of the world, therefore, we must be the providers of agenda on climate change, and not the receivers.
He said it’s the time to go for adaptation, as the onset of climate change has fundamentally changed the nature of climate policy and climate politics.
Dr Najam recalled that Paris Agreement had promised very low emissions, as it made climate action and commitments a voluntary action rather than a legal compulsion like Kyoto Protocol. Since the first COP held 27 years before, financing commitments have been made but not made available.
No country ever demonstrated commitment to 1.50C temperature and there is no scientific way to achieve the commitment, he said and added that now even 20C is no longer achievable for climate change mitigation.
He said Pakistan is essentially the Indus Basin that can sustain a thriving civilization from its source to its delta. “Indus tells us that we are facing a civilizational challenge,” he said, adding that the Indus has sustained the civilization and may not do so for the next 100 years.
He further said 90% of the country’s population lives on Indus Basin; every 9 out of 10 cities are within 50 kilometers range of Indus, which is causing changes in Indus and which is a demographic challenge as well. He suggested improving the efficiency of use of water for enhanced crop per drop.
He said the first casualty of COVID-19 was multilateralism; cooperation in crisis was challenged and failed. He said this has revealed that even in the face of a global crisis, we should not be expecting cooperation rather states will prioritize their interests above all.
Dr Adil said the notion of lack of finances is a blatant lie; there is a lack of belief in climate change being an existential threat. “Cost of US war on Afghanistan was 2.6 trillion, cost of US financial crisis bailout was 4. trillion and cost of US fight against COVID-19 was 6.2 trillion, these finances were mobilized in 8
days and spent in 5 days.“ Rather than climate finance and sharing technical assistance, he suggested exerting pressure on leading global emitters to meet their climate commitments.
He said that after every climate catastrophe, economic activity will continue as victims will pour from their savings and pump into the economy for their survival which reiterates that money is not an issue.
He urged Pakistan’s climate diplomacy must move from “additionality to talk on loss and damage, from mitigation outsourcing to climate adaptation as development and from climate assistance to climate justice.” “The market for climate disaster expands and the margin for relief is shrinking, he concluded.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suelri said Pakistan is chairing group of 136 countries at COP 27 and with these countries onboard Pakistan will push the global north for their lack of commitment to climate action.
Kyoto Protocol was binding on emission reduction targets for the entire global community on board, but it was set aside from the USA. He said that in COP 20 held in Paris, the US played a winning move by removing the binding nature of commitments on emission reduction and climate action, which removed the aspect of accountability.
Global South is looking towards global North to meet its commitment on financing, which is to meet climate justice, he maintained.=DNA