The UN-backed COP22 Climate Change Conference 2016 is about to commence in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-18 November 2016. It was announced at a recent Pre COP-22 event, 'Pakistan say Marakesh: Framing the Pakistan Agenda for COP-22' held in Islamabad that, “Pakistan will soon ratify the Paris Agreement, while the intended nationally determined contributions are in their final phase and will be submitted soon,“ said the Federal Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid on Friday.

Some of the key reasons why ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement is important, and an urgent implementation of the Climate Change Bill in Pakistan should be given national priority, are as follows:

  • Increasing carbon emissions are contributing to a significant rise in global temperatures which are further responsible for contributing to widespread melting of glaciers, rise in sea levels, rampant droughts, catastrophic floods and heat waves that has not only killed thousands of people but displaced millions around the world, including in countries like Pakistan which remains worst affected from this climate crisis
  • Pakistan happens to be one of the most affected countries from the present climate crisis. It has already suffered from extreme and deadly climate events such as the massive floods of 2010 and 2012, the catastrophic Gayari avalanches of 2012 and the heat wave of 2015 which have led to widespread loss of human life, undermining economic development and national security of the country.
  • Pakistan needs international assistance and cooperation if it wants to mitigate and adapt from the effects of climate change . Despite the increase in global funding for adaptation and mitigation within developed nations, Pakistan’s share has been “too little, too late” compared to the magnitude of disasters it has faced. The average cost of climate change adaption for Pakistan alone would be an average annual cost of around $6-14 billion and the cost of mitigation would run around 17 billion every year according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Pakistan is home to around 191 million people that makes it the world’s sixth most populous country; but its global contribution to climate change is a mere 1% of the global emissions. Despite the minuscule contribution, Pakistan on average is suffering immense economic loss of about $6-10 billion owing to weather-related disasters that is far greater than the economic loss related to terrorism that accounts for around $1 billion annually, according to experts. Climate change thus poses a greater national security threat to Pakistan than India in the long run as it will contribute to widespread chronic water shortages and drought in the coming decades, in turn resulting in significant loss of agriculture, food security and increase in human migration according to Asian Development Bank.
  • Pakistan as a developing country faces an acute and serious energy crisis. One of the solutions to free the country from this menace would be moving towards a clean energy transition that is sustainable, low carbon and cost effective. Pakistan is already going ahead with the planned development of Asia’s largest solar farm called the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, which eventually will produce 1,000 MW of power. But in order to truly move ahead with its climate friendly and energy independence objectives Pakistan must seek more investment, international co-operation and funding for development of the renewable energy sector, which is projected to meet 7 to 30% of the Pakistan’s energy requirements by the year 2030 that can eventually lead to a stabilized and economically progressive Pakistan.
  • Pakistan, which happens to not only be a victim of widespread terrorism and political instability, but equally suffers from the effects of impending climate crisis must see climate change as a security threat that endangers not only the stability and prosperity of country but also threatens the most vulnerable and poorest in the country. Thus, ratifying the Paris Agreement isn’t where the work ends, implementing it matters the most. Because climate change is a threat that must not be ignored at any cost.