Minister: (Climate diplomacy must for global action against climate change: Mushahidullah)

June 16, 2015 Off By Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change, Mushahidullah Khan, has said that rapidly changing climate caused by global warming is one of the gravest challenges of the present century facing humanity, posting serious threat to the sustainability of the life on earth. However, coping with the climate risks demands a prominent role in foreign policy.

“Given the slow pace of progress in international climate negotiations among rich and poor countries to reach a viable, ambitious, comprehensive, just and binding global climate agreement in Paris, France, this year in December, a stronger role for foreign policy in international climate policy is inevitable through climate diplomacy,” the minister stressed while addressing a gathering of European diplomats here on Wednesday.

The high-level gathering was organized here by the European Union here to celebrate the second Climate Change Diplomacy Day (CCDD). The CCDD is marked on June 17 across the Europa to promoting a common global understanding of the pressing need for global climate action to cope with the ‘unfolding crisis of climate change’.

The minister lauded delegation of the European Union and the ambassadors of Germany and France for taking the initiative of providing an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss climate change and especially with reference to upcoming global climate conference in Paris.

The Europe Union deserves deep appreciation for launching – just six months ahead of the possible global climate agreement – a major diplomatic push for the ambitious climate deal on global warming, mobilising tens of thousands of diplomats to ratchet up “pressure” on key countries in international climate negotiations, particularly those, which are major polluters/culprits for pushing up the global temperature to an extent that it has altered the climate patterns.

“I am sure such events would enable all of us to feel the sensitivity of this important issue of our era and understand that all of us have to tackle it together,” he told the participants of the event.

China, United Nations, Russia, India, Japan, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, South Korea, Iran have been ranked the top most polluting countries in the world, who emit the highest carbon dioxide emissions from all forms of industry and fossil fuel consumption, according to the Energy Information Agency (Department of Energy) of the United States.

Mushahidullah Khan observed that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause of the weather patterns, which are changing rapidly and have increasingly become erratic. Its effects on global warming are devastating, and it is becoming increasingly urgent to reduce these emissions and curb the pressure that humans exert on the planet.

He expressed that though climate change has long been discussed in the foreign policy perspective, it has been very rarely integrated into wider diplomatic efforts, mainly in developing countries. “An emphasis on climate diplomacy could potentially be a significant channel for developing countries to influence international climate change negotiations,” he stressed.

Nevertheless, there is limited consideration of how to support and enable diplomats, negotiators and policy makers in developing countries to bring climate change to the foreground in foreign policy, and pursue effective international action beyond the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), the minister noted.

In particular in developing countries there is lack of knowledge and guidance on how the integration of such issues can be achieved, and a lack of capacity and training to be able to integrate national and international climate change priorities into foreign policy.

In order to safeguard our planet from environmental catastrophe these countries are either working towards or need to work towards implementing new regulations and control of their carbon dioxide emissions. This means reducing energy use and providing more forms of sustainable energy, improving transportation networks by offering improved public transport and looking for alternative fuels.

Earlier, highlighting Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change, the minister told the European diplomats that the country accounts for only about 0.8 percent of the total global carbon emissions and is ranked at 135th place in the world ranking of countries on the basis of their per capita GHG emissions.

“Yet, Pakistan’s vulnerability to adverse impacts of climate change is likely to aggravate seriously in the coming decades as the average global temperature in the business-as-usual scenario is projected to increase by 1.1 to 6.4 degree Celsius by the end of the current century. The threats are most likely to lead to major concerns for Pakistan in terms of its water security, food security and energy security,” the minister told the participants.

“For us all, ‘failure’ is no option as far as tackling climate change as a global risk is concerned. Both developed and developing countries, thus, have no choice save joining hands together to fight common threat of climate change unitedly,” he emphasised.

Mr. Stefano Gatto, Acting Head of delegation of European Union, Mrs. Martine Dorance, Ambassador of France and Dr. Cyrill Nunn, Ambassador of Germany also spoke the august gathering and highlighted overall goals of the event, importance of the climate change diplomacy for bringing all the countries on one platform to evolve common consensus among them to fight the climate change with one force.

They highlighted that European countries are committed to tackling climate change and support developing countries in all possible manners to enable them to develop their resilience against the negative impacts of climate change, particularly floods, sea-level rise, shifting and decreasing rainfall patterns, depleting water resources and climate change-induced health diseases.