A report commissioned by the government in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund found last year that Pakistan was among the 10 countries likely to be most badly hit by global climate change. Pakistan is in a region where temperature increases are higher, which will affect precipitation and vegetation. Already we have seen the effects of global warming with the increased severity of flooding in recent years. Now, the government has finally proposed a course of action, launching its National Climate Change Policy. As a policy document, it is very impressive and covers all bases, but the trick, as always, will be its implementation. Just adopting the policy proved difficult enough. A task force to look at climate change was first set up in 2008 but its work was continually delayed and had to be refined after the Eighteenth Amendment devolved environmental powers to the provinces and the Ministry of Environment had to be reconstituted as the Ministry of Climate Change.
The National Climate Change Policy will have to be accompanied by an action plan that determines its implementation. Too often we come up with sound policy proposals, which end up dying an undignified death because the will to enforce policy is missing. Funding, too, will be a concern. The Green Climate Fund exists to help poorer countries tackle climate change but it has been unable to meet its funding target of $30 billion by the end of 2012. Its aim of getting $100 billion a year from richer countries by 2020 seems like a pipe dream.
Climate change can only be effectively tackled if the entire world gets serious about the issue and is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to ameliorate its effects. The US and China are the two biggest polluters in the world but neither has done much to acknowledge the reality of climate change. However, it is time that all countries start giving this issue due attention for the unfortunate fact is that climate change is going to wait for no man or country.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2013.
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