Friday, August 5, 2016

Ask Pakistan Railway Paint the Train with Climate Change Messages

Every day thousands of people use trains to travel across Pakistan. A country which suffers the brunt of climate change like heatwaves, flooding, scarcity of drinking water, drought and sea level rise, is less aware of science behind the climate crisis. We need to educate our people!

"Paint the Train with Climate Messages" is our new campaign where we will request everyone join us in demanding the Pakistan Railway to put climate change awareness raising messages on a train. This will provide an easy and affordable way to educate wider community about climate change and help them learn solution to fight climate crisis.

You can join this campaign by adopting different ways of actions like;

1) Hashtag #PaintTrainWithClimate and ask Pakistan Railway to paint the train with climate change messages for broader community awareness


2) If you travel in a train, take your photo along with a message written on something and ask Pak Railway "Paint the Train with Climate Message"

3) Write an article or blog about this campaign and share it on our page

4) Talk about it in some TV or radio interview 

5) Send your messages to different environmental organizations, Pakistan Railway and even to the office of Prime Minister

6) Join our online survey to demand the Pak Railway to Paint the train with Climate Change message

7) Any other way you find easy to communicate your message to Pak Railway!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

You helped us ask the PM Nawaz Sharif sign the Paris Agreement

A big thanks to everyone who added their names and showed solidarity with us in asking Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Here is the letter we sent to Prime Minister Office in Islamabad today!
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April 16, 2016

Honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif

Ref:     Public resolution to Sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Dear Prime Minister,

I would like to thank you for your personal attendance and much valued representation of Pakistan in the opening session of the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP 21) in Paris, France last December 2015.

The outcome of the COP21 was widely appreciated by international community, particularly those concerned of global environment and climate change. The historical Paris Agreement as a result of two week negotiations in Paris thus brings too much hope for us all as the world leadership, including Pakistan, agreed to take every possible step in limiting the emission of greenhouse gases which is the primary cause of climate change.

As you know, Mr. PM, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will convene a high level signing ceremony on April 22, 2016 in New York where the world leaders will be invited to sign the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement will enter into force if at least 55 countries, which together accounts for at least 55% of the global emission, sign the agreement and ratify it within their own legal system.

Dear Prime Minister, the citizens of Pakistan from across the country have reached us through online survey to demand that our Government should take proactive action and join the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement in New York. We, as the citizen of this country, very much look forward that our Government play it due role in making the Paris Agreement a huge success.

Signing of the Paris Agreement is important for us all. Every day, human induced activities like burning of fossil fuel in industries, transportation and massive global deforestation lead to emission of 110 million tons of greenhouse gases into the Earth’ atmosphere. This huge amount of emission is negatively changing our climate and bringing in frequent disasters like heat waves, flash floods and deeper droughts.

Pakistan although contributes less than one percent in global carbon emission, but it still suffers from catastrophic climate crisis. Similar to the 2015 heatwave in Karachi, meteorologists have again predicted another heatwave this year, thanks to climate change. We would never forget the 2010 flood which affected 20 million Pakistanis and brought one-fifth of the country land under water. Every year we are losing 6% of our total GDP due to environmental degradation and weather related disasters. This is the time our Government join the international community in every possible effort to fight climate crisis.

The citizens of Pakistan demand the Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to join signing ceremony at New York and sign the Paris Agreement. The citizens also demand that the Government of Pakistan take proactive measures to put in place a strong inventory system of greenhouse gases emission and make its national climate action plan (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) “specific” and in the best interest of the entire nation. 


On behalf of our fellow citizens who contacted our voluntary campaign!



Asif Iqbal

Manager
The Climate Reality Project Pakistan
Al Gore’s Climate Change Leadership Program
https://www.climaterealityproject.org/

Friday, April 8, 2016

Demand Prime Minister of Pakistan to sign the Paris Agreement

Dear friends, we have started a campaign to demand Prime Minister of Pakistan to sign the Paris Agreement. 

Please add your name in this survey before April 16, 2016 and also share the link widely, specially to fellow Pakistanis in the country and abroad. 

Here is the link to add your name and share among your social network; 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/H8MCLPM

Sunday, April 3, 2016

From a Solar Powered Parliament to a Safer Pakistan

In February 2016, the parliament house of Pakistan achieved a distinct status of becoming the world’ first ever parliament which is 100 percent solar powered.  3,940 solar panels installed over the rooftop and in the parking area of the building produce 1MW electricity and surplus energy is sold out to the National Grid.

The story of solar powered parliament house of Pakistan is part of the big picture the global climate movement is shaping to transition to clean energy pathways and limiting global carbon emission to the scientifically endorsed limit of below 450ppm.

Irrespective of the fact that Pakistan’ share of carbon emission is still less than one percent of the global emission, the country is part of the recent Paris Agreement which encourages all UN member countries to take strenuous efforts in achieving a common goal of staying below 2 Degree Celsius to avoid dangerous climate catastrophes.

Pakistan has remained a victim of climate crisis since long. Last year, the GermanWatch index stated Pakistan as the 8th most affected country due to climate change. In 2010 this ranking was number one. Among the most recent examples is the May 2015 heatwave in Karachi which killed about 2000 individuals. In February 2016, temperature in Karachi peaked to 36.5 Degree Celsius, a February never been so hot in last twenty years. From a sea level rise in the coastal areas of Baluchistan and Sindh to melting glaciers in the North, climate change continues to challenge human survival in Pakistan.

Despite the growing challenges of climate change, Pakistan has the potential to get benefits from a wide range of opportunities to tackle this issue. Renewable energy is one of the options. A study conducted by MIT, Stanford University and University of California confirmed that Pakistan can produced 92 percent of its electricity only from solar power which is the highest rate in the world. This would definitely require a strong political will.

Pakistan being part of the global community can play its part to make Paris Agreement a success by strengthening domestic system of carbon inventory and verifiable reporting mechanism against the needed climate financing to harness promising opportunities like renewable energy.

Although, certain outcomes of the Paris Agreements like current pledges made under Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to limit carbon emission are not sufficient to keep the average temperature increase below 2 Degree Celsius. The agreement however has good things to offer as well - a global commitment of raising USD 200 billion annually by 2020 to support vulnerable countries fight climate change. Highly feasible solar projects together with enhanced system to verify and report carbon mitigation in Pakistan can open ways to access this Green Climate Fund.

Pakistan has the opportunity to revert its challenges associated with climate change with climate resilient country. A strong political will is however needed to make drastic improvements to make this desire a reality. Pakistan still needs to make its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) stronger under the Paris Agreement which currently has no specific targets due to lack of authentic and reportable carbon inventory system.

Number of promising initiatives at the government level gives strong hope that Pakistan is not undermining its climate action as part of the global community. The country approved its National Climate Change Policy in 2012. In early 2015, the government reinstated its Federal Climate Change Ministry and introduced net metering system which allows consumers who install solar system to sell any surplus electricity to the National Grid. Only the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, after its completion would generate 1000MW of electricity. The federal government’ Green Pakistan Program aims to plant 100 million trees and the KPK government has initiated Billion Trees Tsunami program to plant another 1.5 billion trees in the country.


The only option to act on climate is in the best interest of all of us. We still have a long way to go and make our country a safer part of the world. A strong political will is no doubt a key to make this happen fast. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

This is all about You Al Gore! A Tribute to Your Leadership!

This is all about Al Gore!!

Paris Agreement is a well-deserved celebration for us all in the global climate movement! This historical agreement has finally set the tone to say goodbye to fossil fuel and transition to clean renewable energy like Solar and Wind! We could not have achieved this milestone without the visionary leadership of Al Gore who mobilized grass root climate actions and largely contributed to drive political will to reach the Paris Agreement!

Thank you Al Gore for everything you are doing for the Planet Earth! Happy New Year 2016 J




Our project of compassion: After the Paris Agreement, I thought inviting everyone to say something special for Al Gore would be one of the respectable ways to acknowledge his true leadership in global climate campaign! Today, I feel so excited to share all those messages I have received from our wonderful fellows and friends to appreciate Al Gore for his profound contribution in the Paris Agreement. Thank you everyone for joining me in this simple but lovely initiative! 

Visit this beautiful online presentation and click play to enjoy our collective tribute to Mr. Al Gore!! 

Happy reading, I would love to hear from you on asifoghi@yahoo.com. 

Asif  


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Add Your Special Word of Thanks to Al Gore!

Add your special words of thanks to Al Gore for his years’ long struggle to fight climate crisis and his wonderful contribution in making the Paris Agreement in COP 21 a reality. 
Add your word of thanks HERE. We will send all the collective responses to Al Gore with the start of New Year 2016! 
Al Gore, the Nobel Laureate and a great climate campaigner, dedicated his utmost efforts to motivate grass root communities, businesses and world leadership act on climate change. His tireless efforts made hundreds of thousands citizens from different parts of the world understand the reality of climate crisis and demand their leaders to protect the only Planet Earth from human induced climate change, reject denials and accept the long lasting solutions like clean and renewable energies. 

Al Gore’s profound wisdom and passion to solve climate crisis largely contributed to the historical Paris Agreement where world leadership adopted a new global pact to fight climate change. This is the time we as concerned citizens of this Planet Earth express our sincere gratitude and word of thanks to Al Gore for what he did for us all at present and for our future generation!

Add your words of thanks on this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/29LM3FL as a special New Year wish for Al Gore!

PS: Send me your favorite photo on asifoghi@yahoo.com in case you want your picture to appear along with your message for Al Gore when I feature all the messages with start of New Year 2016 :)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Countering Climate Change Terrorism in Paris

Recent terrorists attack in Paris and the brutal killing of more than 120 innocent lives had such an enormous impact that the world media started counting it as the worst atrocity in France after the World War-II. World leadership reacted promptly with much needed solidarity with the victim families by turning on lights after the Eiffel tower put them off in grief.

Unexpectedly, despite the big loss and declared emergency, the president of France announced the county will continue to host the two-week international negotiations on climate change, that started from November 30th  in Paris.

The decision had stunned international community in circumstances when the France borders were sealed given the severity of Paris incident. Someone known to the reality of climate change can imagine how important this decision was by the French president.

In profound solidarity with the people of France, it is safe to say that the threat of Climate Change is worse than incidents like Paris terror attacks. According to James Hansen, Former Director, NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, “the energy trapped by man-made global warming pollution is now equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year”. This is no doubt, a disastrous energy to bear with.

Countering terrorism of any form has now become indispensable global need. If that’s the case, climate change is nothing less than terrorism. Scientists believe that the 2 Degree Celsius global warming threshold has to be maintained to avoid dangerous catastrophes like the 2010 floods in Pakistan and the heat waves of Karachi and India.

The decision of French president has confirmed the urgency of climate crisis. The dangerous greenhouse gases (GHG) have reached the level of 400 ppm in atmosphere against the scientifically safe limit of 450ppm. Exceeding this limit would mean crossing the 2 Degree C threshold and allowing frequent and disastrous incidents like powerful cyclones, sea level rise, massive flooding and deeper droughts.

Environmentalists have long debated over the urgency of climate crisis. The question is if we as a state were fully ready for Paris negotiations. Pakistan is one of the most affected countries due to climate change as confirmed by the German Watch index. Dr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, the former head of the Pakistan Metrological Department, in a recent conference in Lahore has warned that disturbance to our glaciers system due to global warming can put our water, food and energy security at higher risks. 

Just a few months back, a report was presented to the Senate standing committee on Science and Technology confirming that the 31,000 acres of coastal area in Badin has already disappeared due to sea level rise.

Pakistan needs a serious attitude for Paris negotiations. We already missed the UNFCCC’ deadline of October 1st, 2015 to officially submit our GHG emission reduction targets “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” (INDC). After two weeks of the deadline, unfortunately our submitted INDC appeared as target-free commitment on the UNFCCC website.

The initial draft of our INDCs had indicated 10% reduction of GHG emission by 2030. The reason explained by the government behind this target-free commitment is the lack of reliable data on our peak emission levels, which reflects our lack of preparation toward climate action. In contrary, a small Island state Fiji in their INDC have set their emission reduction target by 30%, including 20% target conditional with international financial support.

Pakistan’ contribution in global carbon emission is less than a percent with 135th world ranking in terms of its per capita carbon emission. We could still have presented strong INDCs to UNFCCC to mitigate our carbon footprints through international funds and in return doing projects like underground mass transit system.

As the on-going Climate Change talks in Paris (COP 21) are going to conclude today December 12, 2015 with the final draft to release soon, we still have a lot of work to do as individual nation as well as global community to make progress on climate action as top and indispensable priority. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Go with a Letter to Your Local Imam Masjid (Faith Leader) to be Your Climate Advocate

Starting with the first year target of getting 50 volunteers to contact 50 Imam Masjid/Faith Leaders, we are launching a new campaign "My Faith Leader My Climate Advocate". 

This campaign will aim to get Imam Masjid of every Muslim community in Pakistan talk about Climate Change during Friday Sermons. The process is very simple;

Step 1: Show your Interest to be a volunteer. Contact us through Email asifoghi@yahoo.com and let us know your full name, your email address and your local Masjid address you want to engage with

Step 2: We will send you a link to download a Ready-Made Letter which explains why to request your local Imam Masjid to talk about Climate Change during Friday Sermons

Step 3: Post your updates on our page or email us directly to confirm you have engaged your local Imam Masjid on this subject

Step 4: We will feature you on our page for your act of faith leadership

Feel free to share this process and our page link among your friends and social media circle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Islamic Declaration on Climate Change Calls on 1.6 Billion Muslims to Take Action

The International Islamic Climate Change Symposium is co-hosted by Islamic Relief Worldwide, GreenFaith and the Islamic Forum for Ecology & Environmental Sciences (IFEES). Influential Muslim leaders including religious leaders, activists, academics, policy makers and civil society representatives from around the world are coming together ahead of the UN Climate Change conference in December in Paris to officially launch the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change.

The Symposium is a global platform for Muslim leaders and activists to contribute to the negotiation process and mobilise the global faith community. Its aim is to raise awareness within the Muslim world on the dire impact of climate change and to call on the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world to realise the moral imperative of addressing climate change as part of their religious duty.

The Declaration calls for all nations with the greatest responsibility and capacity to lead the way in tackling climate change, for Islamic leaders around the world to pay more heed to the social and ecological responsibilities they have as they exploit the fast declining resources of the earth by reducing their carbon footprint and phasing out the use of fossil fuels by shifting to 100% renewable sources of energy. 

There is a growing movement among the faith communities that supports the view that the climate crisis is also a moral crisis. The adverse impacts of climate change that we have witnessed so far are a clear case for people of faith to examine the underlying moral causes of this phenomenon. It further prompts the faith community to take action to halt the desecration of nature that leads to destruction of creation and human lives. It also presents an opportunity for these communities to bear witness to alternatives to the fossil-fuel addicted economic system to one that meets development goals and is also spiritually fulfilling.

The Symposium will also showcase examples of best practice in the operation of field based grassroots projects incorporating environmental sustainability, adaptation to climate change impacts, and people-centred solutions, as well as how civil society organisations are mobilising Muslim communities to address climate change from around the Muslim world. It will furthermore seek specific recommendations for action to be developed to realise this ambitious change in the Muslim world in the lead-up to, and after COP 21.


It is hoped that the Declaration will result in strong commitment from all the participants in order for there to be a strong outcome in Paris. Faith leaders from other faith traditions will be joining the Symposium as a sign of solidarity and to welcome the declaration following the Pope’s Encyclical released in June.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Meeting People of Different Faiths in Rome- A Personal Reflection!

Businesses of life often orchestrate people’ thinking in complex way that they find it hard to come on certain common point. Difference of opinion is profoundly influenced by cultures and norms. However when it comes to personal gains, people thrive their own school of thoughts, often neglects facts or try to manipulate situations towards personal favors.

The real story of climate crisis is not much different than such personal and cultural conflicts. The extent to which common citizens get completely confused on which path to follow, some wise leaders step in and recall them the power of faith. This is what Pope Francis realized in the best interest of humanity and presented to the world his historical Encyclical on climate change.

Being a follower of my own religion Islam, I see the importance of Pope’ Encyclical as one of the most powerful tools which attracts diverse group of people work for the only Planet Earth as one universal family! I could personally witness this extraordinary value last month when I was invited in Rome by GreenFaith- a US based organization whose mission is  inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership. I found myself among those passionate environmental activists who were Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Baha’i, Buddhists all filled with the spirit of environmental protection in their hearts and souls.

This three-day Multi-Faith Climate Convergence in the city of Rome was one of the best interfaith gatherings, enriched with the evidence of social actions every person had or have been doing in their own communities. As a Muslim, when I kept on believing protecting environment is our moral obligation, I was totally impressed how different individuals and their organizations have contributed their part for protection of Mother Earth by getting inspired of their own individual faiths.

The time I lived and learnt from those passionate participants coming from different parts of the world, I was thrilled to know how Christianity motivated people stand up for the Mother Earth. When I looked at what the Hindu fellows have done in mobilizing their own communities, making their villages clean was my own realization that each faith finds common values for humanity- here it is making Earth green. And when I interacted with those fellows who follow the religion of Baha’i, I learnt how powerful their own stories are when they call for climate action! In short, this is what I can truly call interfaith harmony which brings people closer to each other.

This Climate convergence gave a spiritual meaning for people of different faiths. And it happened in such a critical time when we are almost at the verge of climate crisis. We are left with just a few weeks when the world leadership is gearing up to convene in Paris and decide the fate of Mother Earth due to human induced climate change. GreenFaith was able to bring people of different faiths on a common ground, not only to say special thanks to Pope Francis for his Encyclical through a peaceful Climate March in the Vatican City but also provided a meaningful opportunity to us all reflect on our past, our own religious teachings and our environmental practices.
Everyone in the gathering linked his climate action with his/her own spiritual values. In Islam our Prophet Muhammad guides us find blessings of Allah by not only getting kind to our brothers and sisters but to our Planet Earth as well. At the same time, I learned how other faiths give satisfaction to their own followers by doing every small or big action for environmental protection.


The time has come we make sure reflect on science and faith together. Science gives us facts and figures about climate crisis and faith encourages us to take action and protect humanity. Faith is also powerful as it invites individuals learn and explore the secrets of universe. This is the sense we all need to transform into those who are supposed to be decision makers on our behalf at the Paris conference. We have to take this message on because we have to protect our present and our future generations from climate crisis. We have simply got a big responsibility which is truly rewarding!