Sunday, September 5, 2010

InterAcademy Council report is not negating the realities of Climate Change.

Soon after the InterAcademy Council published the report on August 30, 2010 on the process and procedure of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), skeptics found it a smart way of advocating their own agenda to divert people attention from urgency of action on climate change. I have gone through a same kind of an article which tries to blame IPCC and climate campaigners and put together a number of statements from the InterAcademy Council report, which a reader, who has less knowledge about climate science, would start believing that climate change is not real and people like Al Gore have their own interest in the climate game.

I am not a scientist, but having some sufficient background knowledge and some work experience as climate campaigner, at least I am not among those who would be impressed by the articles of such skeptics. The extreme events i.e. massive flooding in Pakistan and wildfires in Russia, are consistent with the climate models. Interestingly, the deniers’ efforts are following the same example of “Glass half empty”. In the case of criticism on fourth Assessment report-2007 by IPCC, here the glass is almost filled. Only the two errors coming out from the report doesn’t mean that climate change is not real. A good thing is the acceptance of IPCC on these two errors and an excellent thing is to invite InterAcademy Council to convene a committee to review the process and procedure of the IPCC so that IPCC could make more efforts to minimize the chances of errors in its future reports.

For me, learning and improving process is important for everyone, either for an individual or for an organization. The scientists and the staff in the IPCC are also human beings and nobody can be perfect. The important thing is to learn from mistakes but not to deny it. I found it quite interesting that the argument of deniers on the basis of InterAcademy Council report are still based on the those errors which the IPCC has already accepted. I didn’t find anything in the report which would say that Climate Change is not real. According to the Inter Academy Council report, The Committee found that the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall”. Similarly the committee mentioned about the IPCC that “More than a thousand volunteer scientists evaluate the available scientific, technological, and socioeconomic information on climate change, and draft and review the assessment reports. The thousands of scientists and government representatives who work on behalf of the IPCC in this non-traditional partnership are the major strength of the organization”

The major recommendations coming from the InterAcademy Council report is to improve the process and procedure, which I think is not a bad thing. Given, the advancements of technologies and interest of the audiences, definitely the innovation, efficiency and effectiveness are the indispensable characteristics to satisfy the needs of people. The IPCC should now evaluate the key findings of InterAcademy Council and decide where they need improvement in governance and management, review process, characterizing and communicating uncertainty, communication and transparency. The IPCC would definitively have its own say on the functioning of its three working groups on quantitative likelihood scale, quantitative confidence scale and the level-of-understanding scale in future reports, however, the evaluation by report will also help the IPCC to be more effective than before.

I wonder if the IPCC can accept its mistake on the two errors, out of the excellent work done on its fourth assessment report, then why don’t these skeptics accept their mistakes that they are committing by advocating the agenda that climate change is not real. IPCC assessment report is written on 2,823 pages, written by 1,325 authors and having the 17,969 unique sources. Only the two errors don’t mean that climate change is not real and that’s why the InterAcademy Council report mainly talks about further improving the process and procedure. It doesn’t say anything against the realities of Climate Change.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I would never wish my country to become an example of climate vulnerabilities...

This weekend I was going through a new slides on Climate Change coming from The Climate Project Australia. Almost each and every slide has a message of change behind it, that I personally think, we need to spread among those who don't know it. While going through the slides, my mind directed my finger, not to click on next slide further, as I saw the word Pakistan. The slide says-

A few years later Multan, Pakistan, the temperature soared to 126°F (~52°C). The average high summer temperature in Multan is 108°F (42°C).


And then the other slide after it....

In 2010, Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan experienced a high temperature of 129°F (~54C). This is the highest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan and possibly the fourth highest ever recorded in the world.


And then I got another email from a subscribed source "Repower America" reading that - Around the globe, we are on track to see the hottest year yet in 2010. From the flooding in Pakistan to droughts in Russia and landslides in China, the effects of this year's extreme weather are catastrophic and undeniable.

For a while I was thinking, whether the name of Pakistan being highlighted in the current international debate on climate change- such as increasing extreme events is of what importance for us? Are we able to highlight the impacts of climate change on the country like Pakistan and many others, being neglected before or it is a real point of concerns for us living in Pakistan that now we are more vulnerable than before due to the impacts of Climate Change.

Being a humanitarian, I would never wish that the name of my country become an example in Climate Debate. I would like that my country and every country in the world do not face the miseries because of climate change. But this is the fact that Pakistan is now experiencing more impacts and this is what the changing weather pattern and increasing number of natural disasters like the current flooding in Pakistan is now bringing us more in the talks.

There are number of the countries who are experiencing the impacts of climate change and I would never wish that any extreme event make them "unfortunately known" in the list of most vulnerable one. This is the time that the world leadership become more serious before the Mexico summit and do not let more countries like Pakistan to become more and more vulnerable due to increasing impacts of climate change.

This is the time for action and this is the time for showing seriousness. We don't want to see more news like "20 million affected in due to massive flooding in Pakistan". Let this world be a safe place for all of us and for those in future who will only be talking about our behavior' responsiveness for mother earth.

Do you hear me?

I was very safe and secure, I was with my family and I was able to feed my child. I had my own home where I used to wait for my child to come back from school and we eat together.

But now everything is changed. I don’t know why…

I am not safe because flood has taken my home. My child was sleeping very calm but now the heat of sun is not allowing him to sleep. I am hungry, I don’t feel it because my child is hungry. I am helpless. I don’t know why…

I was happy with my little family and I was not afraid of strangers. But now I am scare, I am exposed, I have no privacy. I have problems but whom to talk, whom to share. Why this happened to me. I don’t know why…

My husband was earning. He had a small land. We loved our crops, we loved our seeds. But now we have no crop, we have no seeds. Our land is under water, our paths are underwater. I don’t know why…

I eat with my family, together or after. I was very happy. Now I stand in line, now I wait in line. I don’t know why…

My village was beautiful. My land was green. Some time I planted a fruit tree, some time a vegetable. Now the flood has taken its beauty and ruined the plants. Water is life then why it became harsh. I don’t know why…

I loved the nature and I planted flowers, I was a friend to motherland. Then why the nature got too angry upon me and my family? I don’t know why…

I am a woman, a daughter, a mother, a sister.

I am also a human like you…

I have my own dignity, I have my rights and I have my life…

But where I go now, where I feed my child and where I protect myself. The land is hot, the tent is warm. I have lots of question but I have no answers, I don’t know why…

Do you hear me?


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Few silent words in the hearts of thousands of women displaced by flooding in Pakistan…

Australia’ climate score card must go beyond the border…

I personally got fascinated from the campaigns of number of Australians who evaluated the inclination of their politicians and parties before the election towards climate change policies and mandates for the future of Australia. I was particularly impressed on the thoughts that an Australian had in his or her mind to vote for a leader who is really committed to the sustained and environment friendly development, clean energy and support to those countries who are vulnerable due to the climate impacts. Success of number of the Greens and independent candidates, as I read it in the few blogs here, that could get the support from such campaigners/people is something really different for me to think and ask from myself- Why only the Australian? Why not the people of poor countries and why not the Pakistanis? These thoughts must go beyond the border of Australia.

For me, if it is important for an Australian to expect from his or her leader to be more thoughtful towards climate change mitigation and finding ways for clean energy and less emission of greenhouse gases, then it should also be the case for people in the poor countries as well to demand for action on climate change adaptation from their politicians. For a country like Pakistan, where people and society in rural areas still need voters’ education and awareness and allowing women from tribal areas to vote, it is not yet a trend among communities to vote for a leader who also take into account the consideration for safe environment. In fact the vicious circle of poverty make people’ demand from their politicians limited to the drinking water supply schemes, link roads, source of livelihood, small jobs etc. Due to lack of awareness about climate change among our people and its long term impacts on their lives and livelihoods, the political parties’ manifestos often neglect priorities for safe environment which is vital for sustainable development in the country. This is one of the reasons that Pakistan is going through a worse situation now a days because of climate catastrophe in the shape of massive flooding.

Although being a non-political, however being a climate campaigner, I think we should take steps in promoting awareness among communities and motivate them to vote for the leaders that bring their political manifestos with priorities for climate change adaptation. The priorities should address the needs for sustainable food security, improved health and disaster mitigation against the climate related vulnerabilities, water conservation, green jobs/ecopreneurship at national level and priorities for international advocacy and decisions that empower ruling parties to strongly advocate on international forum for their people’ vulnerabilities and for a safe earth.

After being impacted from the worse climate crisis in the aftermath of abnormal rains and massive flooding in Pakistan, the thinking of our people and specially those 20 million affected should take a new direction now. Our people and specially those becoming vulnerable due to the absence of shelter, food, drinking water and widespread epidemics must have now different thinking about future leadership and democracy. Next election in Pakistan must have an impact from campaigns that give priorities for climate change adaptation and international advocacy. I think we should learn from this good practice from the Australians and those numbers of organizations who advocated for a leadership selection with a true spirit for a safe and clean environment, not only for the people of Australia but also for the rest of the world.

We Ecopreneurs- empowering local village women for sustainable income generation

Recently our campaign Climate Project Connectors started a new voluntary initiative “We Ecopreneurs” to empower local village women in the sub division Balakot (Pakistan) by exploiting opportunities for income generation through organic farming. There are reasons that we started this initiative.

The first thing is the conservative rural society that always obstructs women to access income generation opportunities as compared to men. This makes them dependent and excluded from decision making. Women usually work in fields to help their male members but their work is often unrewarded. Another reason is that inorganic methods of farming and other interrelated factors have negative impact on local environment and natural resources.

The solution we opted in this regard was to laugh a competition among three selected village women. One of our female volunteer (we call them connector in our campaign) Ms. Rashda, selected three potential village women through a women organization (WO). The connector voluntarily trained these women in preparation of plot, selection of indigenous vegetable seeds, use of organic fertilizer and organic pest management. In the next step the selected women also received orientation on sale and marketing of produce to earn income as well as to make them aware of food insecurity due to the impacts of climate change. Introducing these village women as ecopreneurs through regular mentorship is also one of the objectives of this initiative.
Rashda is one of our active Connectors from Pakistan. She is working with Sarhad Rural Support Programme, under the ICMC funded project in Tehsil Balakot, where she is working with the extremely vulnerable individuals and mainstream them into development process at hamlet, village and union council level. Rashda selected these three women with the help of village organization that they have formed under the pilot project. She aims to make the local women aware and help them to promote and access their rights in the society.

This is a pilot initiative of the Climate Project Connectors to link environment and income generation in sustainable manner. The competition in this initiative is also an innovation for local women. The woman who will get more profit from the sale of produce will get the first cash prize and so the 2nd and 3rd position as well. This will be an encouragement for these ecopreneurs to increase the culture of organic kitchen gardening in future and be self sustained. There is a noteworthy observation that due to the heavy monsoon rains and massive flooding in Pakistan, the families of those three women also shifted to surrounding areas and Mansehra city along with other affected households, however after the flood water went down and families returned to their village in Balakot, the plots fortunately remained safe from the landslide and the seed of turnips have also started germination.

Our voluntary campaign is very optimistic for the success of this pilot initiative of organic competition that will start giving results in the coming three to four weeks. We look forward to engage more women to seek environment friendly income generation opportunities for their livelihoods by promoting the “We Ecopreneurs” idea.