Saturday, October 10, 2009

Climate Change, Pakistan and Road to Copenhagen


Climate Change is affecting Pakistan with temperature increase, change in monsoon rain patterns and melting of glaciers in the northern areas. From 1992-2005, the country experienced 11 extreme events with the 2005 earthquake (and consequent land sliding and flash floods) in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

Pakistan, along with other UN member countries will be gathering in December climate change conference in Copenhagen. It will be a political tipping point. We will not have the time to create another political tipping point after that.

Why is Copenhagen so impor¬tant? Simply, we have to talk to major polluters to start re¬ducing greenhouse gases globally by around 2015. If we can do that, we can limit a temperature rise to about 2°C. Our government has to talk to those rich countries at Copenhagen and to reach a justified international agreement, otherwise we go over 2°C glo¬bal warming and will be more affected.

In Pakistan, majority of the population is unaware about Climate Change science and particularly the role and ground work of our government for upcoming Copenhagen talk. We need to know what our government is going to decide about our fate with international community.

To start the turn around by 2015, we need a new international agreement up and running by that date. For the Kyoto Protocol will run out in 2012.

The world decided at the 2007 Bali climate change conference that a post-Kyoto agreement will be delivered at Copenhagen. As someone said, it's our last best chance.

The industrial countries need to set GHG reduc¬tion targets and commit to miti¬gating the effects of climate change. Secondly, developed countries have to help deve¬loping countries by opening up access to the finance and technol¬ogy to fight cli¬mate change and adapt to its ef¬fects.

More severe incident will happen if global warm¬ing goes over 2°C.
In Pakistan melting glaciers, decreasing freshwater availability, flooding from rivers, pressure on natural resources and environment and rise in endemic morbidity and mortality due to diarrheal disease primarily associated with floods and droughts are some of the real example.

Climate Change impacts are globally visible. The Greenland ice sheet and Arctic Sea ice disintegrate over the next few hundred years. That means a 2.7m sea rise. If the West Antarctic ice sheet starts to come apart as well, the sea le¬vel rise swells to more than 5m.

But it is do-able. We can meet the climate change challenge and not bankrupt our lifestyle. Al Gore said we have enough technology to solve three climate crises, and we only have to solve one.

A young delegate from Papua New Guinea famously stole the show at the 2007 Bali climate change conference. He put it directly to the US delegate to either lead or follow. If neither, then just get out of the way.

The Asia-Pacific Summit on Climate Change in Melbourne was a milestone in July 2009 to gather people of diverse culture from 19 countries, including Pakistan to raise a common voice and to advocate with governments to take action now.

Following the summit, my campaign in Pakistan “Climate Project Connectors” is engaging local communities, media, NGOs and government authorities to create mass awareness on climate change challenges and demand for actions. This is also important for us as less then 100 days to go Copenhagen.

If you want to become a Connector and work with other Pakistani’s to make sure the nation’s voice is heard at Copenhagen go to www.climateproject.org or email Asif Iqbal on asifoghi@yahoo.com

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