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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment