GP Short Notes

GP Short Notes # 734, 20 September 2023

On Climate Change, where is Pakistan currently?
Dhriti Mukherjee

“Pakistan’s climate narrative needs to respond to three basic questions,” says an analysis in Dawn

On 21 September, Ali Tauqeer Sheikh wrote an editorial in Dawn, titled “Climate action leadership,” where he discussed the climate challenges that Pakistan faces ahead of the COP28 summit in November 2023. In the background of Pakistan’s recent role as the chair of the G77+China at the last climate summit, the country is at a point where it must address climate challenges by increasing momentum in its efforts. Sheikh emphasised the significance of addressing four fundamental challenges: political and macroeconomic stability, institutional and policy reforms, climate finance architecture, and climate-smart actions at the provincial level. Focusing on this could bolster Pakistan’s “climate-resilient and low-carbon development journey.” In line with this, he raised three central questions. 

Where is Pakistan currently?
The Global Stock-take (GST), conducted under Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, provided a comprehensive assessment of global climate efforts through 13 findings, centring around “mitigation”, “adaptation”, and “implementation.” While some positive achievements can be acknowledged, the author brought to light how “no discourse has taken place on the implications of the overshoot for Pakistan.” The GST’s conclusion that global commitments fall short of limiting global warming to 1.5°C highlights the urgency of more robust climate action.

Where does Pakistan want to go?
With 2030 as a pivotal year for climate stabilisation and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation, Pakistan’s climate narrative must align with these global goals. The decisions made at COP28 will shape Pakistan’s future sectoral policies at both national and provincial levels. A well-thought-out response to the GST findings will determine international interest and support in bridging financial and investment gaps. Pakistan aspires to become a global leader in climate resilience and sustainability; thus, a strategic and comprehensive response to the findings of the GST is paramount. 

How does Pakistan get there?
The editorial highlights a critical concern: the recent rise in global temperatures exceeding the 1.5°C threshold. Based on the recommendations of a report by the Overshoot Commission, this rise indicated the need for “accelerating emission reductions, more resources to adapt to climate impact, and scaling up CCS technologies.” The GST findings highlighted the complex relationship between climate and development, which are vital for Pakistan as it moves towards prioritising the “National Adaptation Plan (NAP), NDC, and climate policies” in its provinces. 

Aside from this, the author also brought out the fact that global attention during the COP28 summit will be on “devastation caused by dam outbursts in Libya and the earthquake in Morocco.” The 2022 floods in Pakistan are not likely to “evoke emotional support,” and keeping this in mind, Pakistan must bring forth steps that it took as part of climate action. This includes conducting a Climate Change Council meeting for COP28 like the outgoing government had done for COP27, developing the provincial roadmaps for NAP implementation, “climate finance architecture and cataloguing climate actions on the ground.” These steps will carve the path for Pakistan in its “climate-smart development.”

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