PRESS RELEASE – Webinar on “Strategies for Mitigating Impacts of Climate Crisis”

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PRESS RELEASE
Webinar on “Strategies for Mitigating Impacts of Climate Crisis”
August 12, 2021

The Centre for Strategic Perspectives (CSP), Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organised a Webinar titled “Strategies for Mitigating Impacts of Climate Crisis,” on August 12, 2021. Mr Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, Climate Change and water expert was the keynote speaker on the occasion. Other speakers for the webinar included Mr Ashfaq Mehmood, former Federal Secretary, Water and Power, Government of Pakistan; Dr Gulfaraz Ahmad, former Federal Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Resources, Government of Pakistan; Dr Arjumand Nizami, Country Director, Helvetas, Pakistan and Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel, Chairperson BoG, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). The Talk was moderated by Mr Malik Qasim Mustafa, Director ACDC & CSP at the ISSI.

Mr Ali Tauqeer Sheikh said that the world has passed beyond the linear changes of Climate Change, and moving towards abrupt system changes. Monsoon patterns are changing with increased precipitation in South Asia. In Pakistan heat waves, droughts and flash floods can be associated with Climate Change. Pakistan is not a big emitter but has increased its emissions by more than 300% in the last two decades. Improving economic growth through green growth policies will benefit the country.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Director General ISSI, said that there is a need to raise awareness among the country’s policymakers that Climate Change is an existential threat and needs appropriate action to deal with the vulnerabilities arising out of it.

Malik Qasim Mustafa in his introductory remarks said that countries like Pakistan are among the top 10 countries, which are suffering from the Climate Change phenomenon. According to the latest IPCC report, “Climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying.” The Climate Change threat is real now and Pakistan needs to work and develop strategies to reduce and mitigate the impact of the climate crisis. 

Mr Ashfaq Mehmood said that Pakistan is already in a crisis regarding water availability. Pakistan is approaching water scarcity. Pakistan is an arid country with an average rainfall of 250mm rain per annum in 70 per cent of the area. Pakistan needs to build to store water, as it will be available for a shorter period. Water pricing is also needed for the efficient use of water.

Dr Gulfaraz Ahmad said that Pakistan is an energy deficient country. The international market is cartelised and wild changes in prices in oil has negative effects on Pakistan economy. Energy security depends upon total exports and energy intensity. Pakistan needs to improve energy efficiency by implementing effective policies. Energy sustainability needs to be investigated by keeping in mind Climate Change.

Dr Arjumand Nizami said that mitigation and adaptation are both needed to address the food security issue in Pakistan. Needs assessment regarding the areas, which need to focus on to address food security challenges. Climate corridors are changing due to Climate Change leading to a decline in crop productivity. Furthermore, crops need to be water productive.

Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel said that in Pakistan heatwaves will be more intense and so will be flash floods creating challenges for the country because of Climate Change. The Paris Agreement 2015 was a guardrail protecting the world against Climate Change. In Pakistan, many policies about Climate Change have been postulated but their effective implementation needs to take place. Ambassador Khalid Mehmood, Chairman BoG ISSI, in his concluding remarks said that things are likely to get worse but there is still hope if there is a coordinated effort between countries to reduce carbon emissions and keep global warming in check.