Climate Ambition to Accelerate Climate Action

Climate change is an ultimate and urgent threat worldwide. The global community has been working for a long on climate action. The world needs to implement a new paradigm that catalyzes industry sectors to initiate action. On the other side, Public and Private partnership is vital to reduce emissions and spur transformative modification. In climate discussions, ambition refers to the collective tenacity of the countries worldwide through both domestic action and international initiatives to cut global greenhouse gas emissions to a point where the goal seems achievable. Ambition further signifies the genuine steps that countries are taking to reach out the temperature goal. Unfortunately, Human activities have enlarged carbon dioxide emissions and driving up temperatures. Extreme weather and melting polar ice are among the potential effects. The average temperature of the Earth is about 15C but has been considerably higher and lower in the past. Apart from the natural variations in the climate, the temperatures are now increasing quicker than ever before. This quick surge in the greenhouse effect describes how the Earth’s atmosphere traps some of the Sun’s energy. This heats both the lower atmosphere and the surface of the planet. Without this effect, the Earth would be about 30C colder and aggressive to live. The climate of the Earth has changed throughout history. According to NASA in the past 650,000 years, there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and evacuation, with the sudden end of the last ice age about 11,700 years ago marking the commencement of the modern climate era and human civilization. Most of these climate changes are credited to minor variations in Earth’s trajectory that change the quantity of solar energy our planet obtains.

There is doubt about how unlimited the effect of a changing climate will be. It could become a reason for freshwater scarcities, intensely altering our capability to produce food, and could upsurge the number of deaths from floods, storms and heatwaves. This is since climate change is expected to rise the occurrence of extreme weather events though connecting any single event to global warming is complex. In short, Climate change is affecting every country around the globe. It is upsetting the economies and lives of many. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are escalating, and weather events are becoming more life-threatening. Last year a report issued by the world metrological department revealed that after decreasing for a maximum of the last decade, hunger is once again on the increase around the world, and climate change is a prime cause. The report showed that in 2018, over 820 million people suffered from hunger 2010. Climate variability is one of the vital contributors to this upsurge in global distractions due to food insecurity, displacement, and deaths from adversities. Food supplies in some of the most vulnerable regions in the world are being unswervingly affected by influences such as crop failures and locust swarms. Exceptional drought trailed by tremendously substantial rainfall reduced the seasonal crop harvested in the Horn of Africa during 2019. These uneven weather patterns and climate patterns also contributed to the worst desert locust attack in 25 years, which further endangered the crop stock in the region. As a result, by the end of 2019, over 22 million people only in the Horn of Africa faced severe food insecurity. Displacements of over 22 million people due to catastrophes in 2019 were due to severely impacted weather events. This number shows a 25% increase than in 2018. Floods and storms were the main causes of this distress. It included Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Both of which dropped unprecedented amounts of rainfall and displaced tens of thousands of residents. During two separate summer heatwaves in European countries recorded all-time higher than ever. Temperatures remained high in numerous countries across Europe and at least 1,462 deaths were noted. It is pertinent to mention that the effects of climate change on human health extend beyond just hunger and heart-related disease. The dengue virus has seen widespread worldwide. The number of cases rapidly grew and now has become a threat to about half of the world’s population. Australia experienced the highest warm temperatures and dangerous drought, which further created the perfect storm for the wildfires that, burned over 7 million hectares (17 million acres) in New South Wales and Victoria alone. The fire activity was not just limited to Australia; however, Siberia and South America’s Amazon rain forests saw huge wildfires as well. Climate change is a humanitarian emergency. Today, one climate-related adversity happens every 1-2 days. Underprivileged people are the ones more affected by climate change. Those who do not have enough resources to defend themselves from catastrophes or live in vicinities where climate effects like floods, droughts and storms hit the toughest. We have no other option left for us than to gather and work on climate action, which is the need of the time. A solid plan of action is required to move along for a positive and result oriented approach. All it starts with ambition. This climate ambition can further indulge into climate action but the constant effort is the utter need.
Global climate ambitions:
The good news is that thrust has been building since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. Since then, countries around the globe and key actors are aligning their plans, policies and projections with the Agreement, though things are moving slowly and a more quick approach is required. It is because the impacts of climate change have been growing; often with frightening results, extending from wildfires, droughts, flooding, and hurricanes to sea-level rise, ocean acidification to the melting of the permafrost. The Paris Agreement also emphasized scientific research that further give us far better precision on the scale of the threats that we face. This includes a revolutionary 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with an unambiguous message: a path exists to 1.5°C, but the window for achieving it is declining rapidly. Besides, we must decrease global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and need to accomplish carbon detachment by 2050. The bottom line is that while drive exists, we need much more climate ambition to deal with the current situation. We do not have enough time to think as it’s the right time to act pragmatically. Climate change is outpacing us quickly and needs an urgent retort by all sections of society. The choices we make on ambition every time while emphasizing in the Paris Agreement will deeply affect us. It will also affect the planet we live in and will leave for future generations. According to a report published by UNDP, the majority of countries are dedicated to fighting out climate change and making progress in this regard even in the challenging contemporary scenario in development circumstances. There have been many evolved ideas to deal with the issue of climate change. It also shows the intentions of the Nations to make progress on ambition. The combat against climate change is one we must win. All it needs is will to analyze the situation and to use the information both as a suggestion of current trends and as inducement for reassuring greater climate action by all segments of society. The Paris Agreement aims to prevent hazardous climate change by rapidly phasing out GHG emissions by the second half of the century while endorsing sustainable development goals. Carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning fossil fuels is the leading source of heat-trapping emissions. In December 2015, a 197-member agreement reached climate talks in Paris. The agreement contained a request to limit the growth in the world’s average surface temperatures to “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial times. It also sets a goal of removing global GHG emissions by the second half of the century or at least compensating any remaining emissions through, for instance, forest development. The NDCs are the strength of the Paris Agreement. They define each country’s self-determined strategies for decreasing GHG emissions, characteristically in five- or ten-year periods. It also includes plans to upsurge flexibility to a world with more heatwaves, floods, droughts, wildfires and more powerful storms, or classify requirements for acclimatizing to such impacts. According to UNDP’s recent report, So far, 184 nations have submitted their first NDCs and one. However, current NDC pledges, while an exit from business-as-usual situations, set the world on the path for an additional increase of about 10.7% in GHG emissions by 2030. This is what revealed by the analysis of UNFCCC. It further said China, United States, European Union and India are responsible for just above half of the world’s total GHG emissions. A crucial belief in the Paris Agreement is that no country should relapse on its quantified targets. All countries are expected to submit progressively ambitious NDCs every five years, often labelled as a “ratchet mechanism”. Given cumulative risks from present routes of temperature upsurge, the Paris Agreement also intend to reinforce the global response on adaptation by describing a worldwide objective that would surge the aptitude of all to be climate resilient and adjust to hostile impacts of climate change along with reducing vulnerabilities. In short, adaptation has always been a priority for developing countries. Medium- and long-term adaptation scheduling is progressively seen as a main factor to prepare for future climatic conditions.

Unfortunately, in this century, GHG emissions from human activities have increased to new record highs. According to UNFCCC analysis in 2016, Global GHG emissions calculated as 50.8 billion tonnes, which is more than 48% since 1990. Energy supply all from coal-fired power plants to oil refineries is the chief cause of these GHGs, accounting for 34% of emissions worldwide in 2016, ahead of industry (22%) and transport (14%). In recent years, technology prices for solar panels and wind energy have fallen. In many parts of the world, renewables are now the lowest-cost source of new power generation. According to IEA, Thus far, international energy-related CO2 emissions rose 1.7% in 2018, the resilient upsurge since 2013 amongst higher energy demand. From 2014-16, the increase broke with a “Paris Pause” that had elevated optimism that a peak was imminent. In May 2019, levels of heat-trapping CO2 in the air rose to 415 parts per million, greater than those witnessed in nature in at least 800,000 years. In many nations around the globe, Public pressure for harder action is mounting particularly among young people who will succeed to a heater planet. In various countries, all sectors of society are getting involved whether they are local governments, investors, private companies, civil society and others. This is because everyone involved is observing an already deteriorating variability of effects from climate change. They include soil erosion, more crop damages, condensed water, hunger and malnutrition, heat-related ailments, wildfires, shifting fish stocks, losses of habitat for wildlife and a melt of ice and snow that is floating sea levels. The Paris Agreement’s goals necessitate an emissions peak as soon as conceivable, trailed by sharp decreases. Consequently, many around the world believe that climate ambitions are the fundamentals in contemporary scenarios. The UN Secretary-General has emphasized that countries and the private sector should take conclusive actions to stop the increase in GHG emissions followed by profound cuts.

2020 in a glance:
According to the report published by UNDP last year, At least 112 nations, representing 53% of global GHG emissions and counting several of the developing countries that are the utmost vulnerable to climate change, have shown their will and intentions to review their plans for combating global warming in 2020. Within this assembly, 75 countries, representing 37% of global GHG emissions, are leading the way with aims to augment ambition in their next NDCs, both by cutting GHG emissions and counting actions to make societies more strong to the waning impacts of climate change, or going along with both options. The countries have also underlined a variety of actions to restraint climate change. It can be alterations to current projects and programmes or far-reaching strategies and plans to phase out net GHG emissions by mid-century. The remaining 37 nations, representing 16% of global GHGs, aims to revamp their present plans. This revamp may be to replicate modern scientific data or inclinations in emissions or to include decisions from the last UN climate meeting in Poland in 2018 where the comprehensive rules of the Paris Agreement were decided such as how to mend transparency and understanding. By emulating this process, chances for daring action might arise. For instance, renewable energy technology expenses have tumbled vividly since 2015 and may now be more viable to scale up. There are chances and hopes that more countries will come forward to become climate leaders in times to come. 14 nations have gestured they have no plans to submit reviewed climate plans. Meaningfully, 41 countries including developed nations are still deciding on how they aim to approach their NDC revisions, whereas another 20 have ideas to review NDCs and are looking for the sources to do so. It was also mentioned in the said report that 10 remaining countries have provided no information regarding their plans. The thing to discuss and mention is that some countries had already set themselves very ambitious goals in 2015 and consequently may find it tougher to do so again. On the other hand, many developing nations want to do more but need money to attain their ambitions.
Climate change and sustainable development goals:
Governments across the globe gradually identifying that action to address climate change is obligatory for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eliminate poverty and hunger and decrease disparity. Climate change is now disturbing national economies and upsetting lives, with an uneven effect on the deprived community. This also highlights the need to revise climate change policies, which is ever more serious for resilient sustainable development. The amalgamation of climate and development policies can aid to advance ambition and is vigorous to maintain climate-vulnerable sectors such as water supplies, agriculture, and public health, as well as to coherent precise actions to authorize and support women, youth and other electorates that are susceptible to climate change. Several countries, including Nepal, Guyana and Lebanon, are breaking down the barriers and moving forward to prioritize the climate and development agendas as one. 88 countries and their governments are busy generating sturdier links with SDGs, as well as aligning with development and sectoral strategies and goals. This could be said to be the second most significant cause for deliberate revisions to NDCs. According to the previously mentioned report, consolidation of original data and evidence (92 nations) graded higher and 67 nations aim to integrate deliberations about gender equality and women’s empowerment into their reviewed plans while knowing the dynamic roles that women can play in fighting out the effects of climate change and assisting to decrease GHG emissions. Understanding the link and setting development goals can also strengthen action to eradicate poverty and hunger. For instance, Ghana’s present NDC emphases on sustainable land use including food security, strengthening infrastructure such as bridges or roads to deal with flooding or landslides, and impartial social development.
Once we talk about constraints particularly those faced by developing nations, access to finance is the major sole obstacle to raising ambition. Globally, total climate associated finance flows, including private sector investments in solar or wind energy to investments being protected against river flooding was $681 billion in 2016 with an increase of 17% compared to 2013-14. In 2009, developed nations promised to assemble $100 billion being climate finance each year for developing countries by 2020. This pledge was both from public and private sources. This pledge is also an effort under Paris Agreement. Arrangement of funds for NDC implementation can be done mainly through international funding or domestic public funds. So far, Less than 30% have mobilized funds from international loans or domestic private sources whereas less than 10% have had access to international private finance. Countries with a finance plan have more often accomplished mobilising domestic public funding for their NDCs. They also clearly get benefit while mobilization of international grants.

Pakistan’s stance on climate change:
In Pakistan, climatic change is estimated to have extensive impacts. These include, reduced agricultural output, increased variability of water accessibility, enlarged coastal erosion and seawater incursion, and augmented frequency of life-threatening climatic events. According to German Watch, in the past 20 years due to its geographical location, Pakistan has been ranked worldwide in the top ten countries maximum affected by climate change. According to the Global Climate Risk Index annual report for 2020, Pakistan has lost 0.53% per unit GDP, agonized financial losses worth US$ 3792.52 million and seen 152 dangerous weather events from 1999 to 2018. According to the analysis by the Asian Development Bank, the socioeconomic expenses of environmental deprivation are substantial with climate adaptation requirements ranging between $7 billion and $14 billion per year. To mitigate the hostile effects of climate change, Pakistan is taking measures at policy, management and operational levels to deal with the situation. Pakistan has also launched the Eco-system Restoration Initiative (ESRI) for easing the conversion towards environmentally resilient Pakistan by mainstreaming adaptation and vindication through environmentally targeted initiatives. These include biodiversity conservation, afforestation, augmenting policy with the aims of Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in Pakistan. This initiative aims to create a self-governing, translucent and inclusive financial mechanism in Pakistan called “Eco-system Restoration Fund (ESRF)”. The ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme is designed to contest the hostile effects of global warming. This is the project covering all the provinces including AJK and GB with provincial budgetary share. This project also implements an extensive sharing approach through provincial and federation forestry departments. In PSDP 2019-20 an amount of Rs 7.5 billion was allocated for this project out of which Rs 6.0 billion has been released to provinces. Seasonal Tree Planting Campaigns are also in progress to plant more trees all across Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan also launched the Clean Green Pakistan Index (CGPI) for generating a mechanism for consolidation of municipal service delivery by local governments. The process is long and needs more attention as well as participation but the journey is still in progress to meet the targets.

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About Saima Zaman 40 Articles
Writer is the Assistant Editor ‘Mélange int’l Magazine’, ‘The Asian Telegraph’ & Project Coordinator (COPAIR); a degree holder in communication & media sciences.