Published On: Thu, Jun 2nd, 2022
Published in Category: Islamabad

Gap between climate financing, capacity & needs must be bridged: Sherry Rehman

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman addressed the ministerial-level event on the new Global Diversity Framework and Nature Financing on invitation from Lord Goldsmith, and then a High Level Panel on the Basel, Rotterdam, and Basil Conventions.


She stated, “We are looking at an existential crisis from the vantage point of a country like Pakistan which is actually on the front lines of a 1.5 plus or even a 2-degree plus C addition to a pre-industrial world. This is the temperature expected at the end of the century but we are already living that trajectory. And we still collectively look at Climate intervention not as a future we need to protect or even a present which we need to conserve. Climate, biodiversity and pollution the triple planetary crises are not a part of the mainstream mindset, thoughts or even public demand. They are seen as a science based niche subject where young people who are passionate about saving their future are mobilised, but really back home there is a growing sense that we have to make very expensive transitions as tiny polluters who are contributing under 1% to GHG emissions when we do not have the requisite policy tools and frameworks. It’s not just Pakistan, there are many countries here that do not have the necessary instruments or resources for knowledge or data for Nature Capital Accounting of carbon trade frameworks, which is core to a just energy transition to clean energy. It is imperative for us to exchange knowledge and best practices but we must understand that there is a huge climate and technical capacity gap here between the rich countries and the developing ones.”


She continued, “We don’t have the technical and resource capacity to handle multiple levels of challenges that would place adaptation at the heart of our efforts or handle a land-use, water and food economy in Pakistan. I see the richer countries making big interventions in their supply chains for carbon neutrality and nature positive goals, but countries of the Global South, with the exception of Costa Rica, which runs on 100% renewable energy, are not equipped by and large to finance the ambitions being articulated today. Our emissions are less than 1% of global emissions but climate stress is redefining the state of our human health and economy because we in Pakistan are living in the 1.5 C plus world already. People don’t even understand the existential crisis we face, let anyone why. The soaring temperatures are unprecedented, and we are already on the frontlines of the climate and natural catastrophe here.


This is not a future that others talk about. There is neither enough public understanding of our compounded challenges nor the linkages needed to accelerate progress. The gap between financing, capacity and need must be bridged. Instead, we see countries dumping plastic waste on our coastline and waters, and fossil fuels and sunset industries for rich countries being transferred to countries like us with energy shortages. We see not enough discussion on global linkages or how the costs of climate colonialism are being borne by a few countries who can’t even make a case for themselves.”


“Parts of Pakistan already live through a fifth season of smog caused by pollution or crop burning in both India and Pakistan; we are on the edge of water scarcity but have no immediate path that is resourced to adapt to such a future. Solutions need to be global, with responsibility located as much in the local as the public and private sectors of all countries that have gained the most from extracting natural resources from the global south” She concluded, “The global south is fighting multiple compounded crises, there are cities in Pakistan where it is already 51 degrees, which is hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement, which is uninhabitable, and we are predicted to be water scarce by 2025. Our crops are suffering leading not just to an economic crisis rather a severe food shortage as well. These water and food insecurity crises are compounded by anthropogenic activities globally and we are now seeing ourselves as the dumping grounds for critical marine and aquatic pollution. Until there is a bridge between financing, capacity, and our needs, the future looks very despondent.”