Climate Change police at last!

THE FEDERAL cabinet has recently approved the Climate Change Policy in Pakistan, which, by all means, is being considered a positive, but long awaited, document in the wake of the horrendous effects of world climate change especially in Pakistan. Though the government claims this new policy would pave way towards evolving regional and provincial strategies and action plans to meet the challenge the country is confronting with, the successive governments bad performance and pathetic attitude towards handling this critical problem speak about the other side of the story. Pakistan is among the top ten vulnerable countries where the negative impacts of climate change on almost all sectors have swelled alarmingly. Similarly, the World Bank report says, Pakistan suffers Rs. one billion accumulative losses per day due to the climate change related impacts on human health, national agriculture and natural disasters global warming, glaciers melting, erratic monsoon rains, floods, droughts, abnormal weather cycle change, environment degradation, rising pollution, etc. Estimates depict that Pakistan emits only 0.8 per cent of the world emissions against America’s 26 per cent and massive emissions by China and India. But that shouldn’t be the factor to boast of as the developed nations have progressed a lot in meeting the millennium development goals on environment, while in the case of especially Pakistan the ground situation is regularly going from bad to worst arguably due to the lack of any effective mechanism for implementation. Pakistan at present is signatory to a number of international Protocols and Conventions on environment. However, as far as implementation on these agreements is concerned the progress still looks dismal as uptil now the climate change has been among the least priorities of the authorities – courtesy the political governments who have always run after their own agendas ignoring the sectors of vital importance for the country. Now as the long-awaited approval of the Climate Change policy has buried a lot of questions on the rulers week priorities on one hand, while on the other hand it has raised many eyebrows about the governments seriousness towards implementation stage. There is still a wide gap existing between the theory and practice as though claims have been made in the policy document but it is silent when the question of ensuring its implementation is arises. The ideal mechanism could be to link the theoretical policy to reaching the practical stage. Regrettably, relevant laws are enacted in the past to control emissions of chemical gases, deforestation as well as unplanned urbanization and contributors of global warming but these laws have never ever witnessed implementation due to the least priorities or non-existing cooperation between the stakeholders. But this time again Pakistanis have rested the hopes in the new Climate Change Policy for the best. Lets see what happens.

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