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Commitment to Secure $100 Billion for Climate Initiatives in Developing Nations Yet to Be Honored: SDPI

Dr. Shafqat Munir, Deputy Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), highlighted that the Global North had committed to raising $100 billion for climate initiatives in developing nations by 2020. However, this commitment remains unmet.

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Lahore, (Pakistan): Dr. Shafqat Munir, Deputy Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), emphasized that the promised $100 billion in climate funding from the Global North for developing nations, pledged for the year 2020, remains unfulfilled.

With climate change impacting countries worldwide, securing climate financing from wealthier nations has proven elusive. Dr. Munir asserted that, given this situation, developing countries must take charge of their own future by harnessing indigenous solutions and mobilizing local funding to address the climate crisis.

These remarks were made during a panel discussion organized by the SDPI, in collaboration with Oxfam Pakistan, held at a local hotel. The discussion revolved around increasing climate resilience in Punjab and the launch of research studies on climate-related issues.

Dr. Munir discussed the importance of national policy instruments for climate action and stressed the need to refer to the National Adaptation Plan when developing PC1 projects for coordinated national climate action.

He also emphasized the importance of bridging the financing gap through local financing, linking it to the mid-term budgetary framework. Dr. Munir shed light on the country’s position on climate finance, institutional capacities for climate action, policy frameworks, and the global-level challenges related to loss and damage.

He noted that the climate crisis knows no boundaries and impacts all nations indiscriminately, but the country lags behind in effectively implementing its policy instruments to cope with climate disasters.

Dr. Munir also highlighted the necessity of revising the national disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy to set targets and key areas like risk understanding, governance, financing, and overall collaboration.

The panel discussion was attended by members of the academia, civil society, journalists, and the business community.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to host the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) from November 30 to December 12, 2023, at Expo City Dubai.

The event aims to unite the world in agreeing on bold, practical, and ambitious solutions to address the pressing global challenge of climate change.

COP28 is particularly significant as it concludes the first Global Stock-take, a comprehensive assessment of progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. Recognizing that the world is off-track, the COP28 Presidency is committed to keeping the 1.5°C goal alive and ensuring a clear plan of action in response to the Stock-take, including measures to bridge gaps in progress.

Sustainable agriculture will also be a prominent topic at COP28, with a focus on stimulating innovation in food production.

A senior official at the SDPI debate revealed that, as the host, the UAE will mobilize action for a “major course correction” to accelerate emissions reductions while ensuring energy security.

The UAE will play a crucial role in advancing international efforts at COP28, with a special emphasis on cooperation with the Global South and countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Climate Change and Its Repercussions: A Global Crisis

Climate change is one of the most critical and pressing challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. It is a multifaceted issue with far-reaching repercussions for the environment, economies, societies, and the well-being of people across the world.

Understanding Climate Change

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in weather patterns and average temperatures on Earth.

These changes are primarily driven by the increase in greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), in the Earth’s atmosphere. These gases trap heat from the sun, leading to the greenhouse effect, which causes the planet’s temperature to rise. While some level of greenhouse gases is necessary to maintain Earth’s habitable conditions, human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), deforestation, and industrial processes, have significantly increased their concentrations.

Causes of Climate Change

1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The burning of fossil fuels for energy production and transportation is the largest source of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. This releases CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere, leading to the accumulation of greenhouse gases.

2. Deforestation: The clearing of forests, primarily for agriculture and urban development, contributes to climate change. Trees absorb CO2 and release oxygen. Fewer trees mean less CO2 absorption and higher atmospheric CO2 levels.

3. Industrial Processes: Various industrial activities release greenhouse gases, such as methane, during the production and transportation of fossil fuels and chemicals.

4. Agricultural Practices: Agriculture is another major contributor to climate change. Livestock, particularly cattle, produce methane during digestion, and the use of synthetic fertilizers releases nitrous oxide, another potent greenhouse gas.

5. Land Use Changes: Changes in land use, such as urbanization and land degradation, alter the Earth’s surface and can exacerbate the effects of climate change.

Consequences of Climate Change

1. Rising Temperatures: The most evident consequence of climate change is the rise in global temperatures. This leads to more frequent and severe heatwaves, particularly in urban areas, where the urban heat island effect exacerbates the problem.

2. Melting Ice and Rising Sea Levels: As global temperatures rise, ice in polar regions and glaciers around the world are melting at an accelerated rate. This causes sea levels to rise, posing a severe threat to coastal communities and ecosystems.

3. Extreme Weather Events: Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including hurricanes, droughts, floods, and wildfires. These events have dire consequences for human safety, agriculture, and infrastructure.

4. Ocean Acidification: The absorption of excess CO2 by the world’s oceans is causing them to become more acidic. This can harm marine life, particularly coral reefs and shellfish.

5. Ecosystem Disruption: Changes in climate patterns are affecting ecosystems and biodiversity. Many species are facing habitat loss, endangerment, and extinction due to climate change.

6. Economic Impact: Climate change is already affecting economies around the world. Extreme weather events disrupt supply chains, increase insurance costs, and damage infrastructure, resulting in financial losses.

7. Food and Water Scarcity: Changing climate patterns can lead to decreased agricultural productivity and more frequent water shortages, posing a significant challenge to global food and water security.

8. Health Risks: Rising temperatures and altered disease vectors have the potential to spread diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, to new regions. Heatwaves also pose health risks, especially to vulnerable populations.

9. Migration and Conflict: Climate change can lead to displacement and migration of communities due to worsening living conditions. This can exacerbate existing social and political tensions, potentially leading to conflicts.

Addressing Climate Change

To mitigate and adapt to climate change, global efforts are essential. The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, is a landmark international accord aimed at limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The agreement outlines various strategies, including:

1. Carbon Reduction: Countries commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions through the development of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and reforestation.

2. Adaptation: Countries are encouraged to build resilience to climate change by investing in infrastructure, disaster preparedness, and water resource management.

3. Technology Transfer: The agreement promotes the sharing of environmentally friendly technology to help developing nations transition to low-carbon economies.

4. Climate Finance: Developed nations pledge to provide financial support to developing countries to help them combat climate change and adapt to its impacts.

The Role of Renewable Energy

Transitioning to renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, is a crucial component of addressing climate change. These sources are cleaner and produce significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. Governments and businesses worldwide are investing in renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprints and decrease their reliance on fossil fuels.

The Socioeconomic Impact

Climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, including low-income communities, marginalized groups, and indigenous peoples. It exacerbates existing inequalities, as these communities often lack resources to adapt to the changing climate. Displacement and loss of livelihoods can lead to social unrest and conflict, making climate change a significant humanitarian challenge.

The Importance of Education and Awareness

Addressing climate change also requires increasing public awareness and education. People need to understand the causes and consequences of climate change to support and demand policy changes. Educational initiatives, community programs, and media campaigns can play a vital role in spreading awareness.

Individual and Collective Action

Individuals can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint, such as using energy-efficient appliances, reducing waste, and using public transportation or carpooling. Collectively, individuals and communities can advocate for policies that promote sustainability and climate action.

Conclusion

Climate change is a global crisis with profound and far-reaching repercussions. Its causes are rooted in human activities, particularly the emission of greenhouse gases, and it affects every facet of our lives, from the environment and the economy to society and public health. Urgent action is required at the individual, community, national, and international levels to mitigate the consequences of climate change and adapt to its impacts. Collaboration, innovation, and education are key components of addressing this critical issue, and the future of our planet depends on the decisions we make today.

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