Climate change promises

The last chance to reverse climate change is upon us

This year Earth Day was celebrated with a focus on mitigating emissions of hydrocarbon gases and making climate change a global priority. On April 22, world leaders from 40 countries gathered together and held a virtual summit convened by US President Joe Biden. Interestingly, 17 of them are responsible for around 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The ultimate goal of the Summit was to make the world carbon-neutral by 2050 and to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

On June 5, Pakistan hosted, for the very first time in its history, the World Environment Day with the collaboration of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), on the theme of ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ and focused on resetting our relationship with nature. The day also marked the formal launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. Additionally, the UN Decade runs from 2021 through 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and for the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change.

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On the World Environment Day, under the Paris climate agreement, almost every country was supposed to drastically reduce their carbon emissions, and was expected submit renewed plans to do so by the end of 2020. The first raft of ‘nationally determined contributions’ (NDCs) submitted in 2015 to put the world on course to be at least 3°C hotter than pre-industrial times, a far cry from the Paris temperature cap goal of keeping warming ‘well below’ 2°C.

Conclusively, it is widely believed across the globe that if WWIII occurs, it will occur along the issues related to water. It is very important for World Leaders to shun out their warmongering thoughts and focus on a common threat that is deadly and destructive by its very nature. Malik Ameen Aslam, SPAM to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, put it well while speaking on the Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22: ‘the world needs to get off the warpath with nature, which would only exacerbate disasters.’ He called upon the global community to do more on the global climate action to protect the world community from unfolding deleterious impacts of climate change.

Barely half of countries met the 2020 deadline to do so, and many big emitters– including the top two, China and the USA– have yet to do so.

In its first NDC, China – by far the largest emitter, responsible for roughly a quarter of all carbon pollution– promised to reduce the intensity of emissions by as much as 65 percent by 2030. According to official reports, China plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.

By far, the USA is reportedly the second largest polluter and emitter of carbon and other hydrocarbon gases. President-elect Joe Biden wasted no time in office in rejoining the Paris Accord from which it was withdrawn earlier by the then President Donald Trump. He has set a net-zero date for 2050 and has officially unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan to help achieve it.

The 27-nation European Union bloc, in 2015, committed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 40 percent, but partially failed to uphold the commitment. Member states renewed this goal in December, aiming to reduce emissions by at least 55 percent by the end of this decade.

After exiting EU and drafting and documenting a 2050 net-zero target built into law, the UK announced to reduce emissions by 68 percent at the end of this decade.

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Like other emitters, India has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by up to 35% this decade compared to 2005 levels. The world’s third largest polluter has yet to submit a renewed NDC.

Unlike other countries, Russia formally rejoined the Paris deal in 2019. It plans to achieve pollution levels in 2030 that are 70 percent of 1990 levels.

Japan

In 2016, Japan committed to a 26% reduction in emissions by 2030. It has also issued its renewed NDC in March 2020. However, Yoshihide Suga, the Prime Minister, in October last year said that the country would be carbon neutral by 2050.

Unlike its neighbor India, Pakistan made climate resiliency part of its 2025 Vision of Pakistan, which includes, besides National Climate Change Policy, policies on agriculture production, power sector, energy efficiency, water and other sectors.

Conclusively, it is widely believed across the globe that if WWIII occurs, it will occur along the issues related to water. It is very important for World Leaders to shun out their warmongering thoughts and focus on a common threat that is deadly and destructive by its very nature. Malik Ameen Aslam, SPAM to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, put it well while speaking on the Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22: ‘the world needs to get off the warpath with nature, which would only exacerbate disasters.’ He called upon the global community to do more on the global climate action to protect the world community from unfolding deleterious impacts of climate change.

Kalimullah Khoso
The writer is a freelance columnist

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