Pakistan's Role In COP28: Mitigation, Adaptation And Climate Finance

The United Nations’ annual climate change meeting, also known as the Conference of the Parties (COP), is a crucial chance to take action on climate change.

Pakistan's Role In COP28: Mitigation, Adaptation And Climate Finance

The United Nations’ annual climate change meeting, also known as the Conference of the Parties (COP), is a crucial chance to take action on climate change. COP28, which will be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023, is especially important because it marks the end of the first global stocktake (GST), the main way to measure progress under the Paris Agreement.

The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that the global average air temperature reached 15.30°C in October 2023, the warmest October ever recorded. This was 0.85°C above the October average for 1991–2020 and 1.7°C above the pre-industrial reference period of 1850–1900. 2023 is also the hottest calendar year so far, with an average temperature of 0.1°C above the ten-month average for 2016.

This is the fifth consecutive month of record temperatures globally. These reports are alarming and terrifying. They indicate that climate change is not a future problem but a current crisis that impacts every living creature on the planet.

The GST is a two-year process that occurs every five years, and its aim is to coordinate climate action. The UN’s report shows that we have to do a lot more to meet the Paris goals. The world is warming up quickly, and the consequences are severe.

The GST is a critical time to address climate change and face the facts. A recent UN report reveals that developing countries face a widening funding gap to deal with climate change, with an annual need of $387 billion, a $47 billion increase from previous calculations.

Current international public finance is far from sufficient, being 10 to 18 times less than required, and has been declining. Pakistan alone will require $348 billion by 2030 to become more resilient to climate change, but it has only obtained $86.2 million in bilateral grants for adaptation since 2016.

The president-designate of COP28 also admitted the insufficiency of adaptation finance, stressing the pressing need for more assistance. The outcomes will be revealed at the end of COP28, and countries have to decide how to use them to keep temperature rises below 1.5 degrees Celsius and cope with the impacts. The report highlights four areas where action is urgent: mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology.

The Paris Agreement pledged $100 billion per year from developed countries to help fight climate change, but the lack of funding is limiting the ability of developing countries to cope with its effects.

The Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) was created at Conference of the Parties (COP) 27 to provide financial aid for losses caused by climate-related impacts, and a key goal of COP28 is to make the LDF operational.

At COP28, countries will have to agree on how the LDF will work, deciding how much money it will have and how it will be distributed to ensure it helps overcome the challenges of loss and damage due to climate change.

As a signatory to the Paris Agreement, Pakistan has a vital role in Conference of the Parties (COP) 28. Pakistan has pledged to cut its emissions by 20% by 2030, relative to the business-as-usual scenario.

Pakistan has also updated its nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC, which shows its strategies and measures to reach its climate targets. Pakistan has also participated in various forums and initiatives to promote awareness and support for climate action.

The COP28 conference will focus on two main strategies: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation involves reducing greenhouse gas emissions, shifting to renewable energy sources, and improving energy efficiency. Adaptation involves strengthening resilience to the effects of climate change, such as extreme weather, sea level rise, and food insecurity.

Another key topic is climate finance, which involves developed countries providing $100 billion per year to help developing countries cope with climate change. This money is essential for helping developing countries pursue both mitigation and adaptation actions.

Furthermore, the meeting will address the thorny issue of loss and damage, which involves developing countries seeking a new global mechanism to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. Therefore, its position at COP28 is crucial. After suffering from the 2022 floods, Pakistan is expected to urge immediate action by highlighting the need for developed countries to speed up their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, the country is likely to seek significant financial assistance to enable adaptation actions, acknowledging the financial burden that climate change imposes on developing countries. Besides, Pakistan may stress the importance of international collaboration in disaster risk reduction to improve readiness and response to climate-related disasters.

Climate change has hit Pakistan hard, harming its economy, agriculture, and infrastructure. The damage is enormous, exceeding $30 billion. The floods in 2022 were disastrous, and many people, especially the poor, are still suffering.

The United Nations urged $15 billion of financial help for Pakistan, recognising its low share of only 0.8% in global greenhouse gas emissions, one of the smallest worldwide. Sadly, despite this call for support, the financial aid has not been fully given, leaving Pakistan to deal with the effects of climate-related disasters without enough resources.

Climate change has not only hurt Pakistan’s economy but also its education sector. Many schools have been ruined or wiped out, denying children their right to education. Sadly, many lives have been lost, especially among the most vulnerable, such as children.

Sindh province, which was severely affected by the 2022 floods, had 17 districts where most of the schools were damaged or collapsed. They need urgent attention for their restoration, as school attendance and dropout rates are increasing rapidly.

Therefore, I urge the government of Pakistan to participate actively and constructively in Conference of the Parties (COP) 28 and to advocate for the interests and needs of Pakistan and other developing and vulnerable countries. I also urge the government to engage with civil society, the media, the private sector, and academia to raise awareness and generate public support for climate action.