A “Great” Climate Change Conference

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Bilal Hamza

Unprecedented climate change has foredoomed this land whereupon the jinx of extreme weather conditions is hanging over the heads!
Do we even have a clue what natural forces might do to us if we swim against the current? Do we know how recklessly are we draining our resources? How far they would be there hanging around or is it about time they would get vanished, once for all.
We know that earth’s set patterns have some checkpoints in form of natural disasters.
Nature locks horns with man and that’s how planet earth goes round and round each minute, each day. From the big bang to recent global warming issues, every era with its due evolution channels goes through “natural” surprises, and no matter how better the man-made technology gets, the great cycles of destruction keep repeating periodically!
Over the last few decades, the term “human interference” has become a cliché; once unfamiliar, it is now jeopardising the future of our planet. Besides being an energy development professional, I realise that speaking on behalf of international climate change experts would be a bit overboard. Therefore, let me just confine myself to Pakistan and discuss what measures we are taking to resolve these looming problems!
Well, how good it sounds upon knowing that God has bestowed upon Pakistan a unique topography, awe-inspiring climate versatility, and almost everything that makes a place wondrous. From the world’s top mountain chains to roaring mighty Indus strolling through its terrain, from spell-bounding landscapes to amazing climatic diversity, this land doesn’t stop to elicit charisma and certainly bewilder onlookers with its majestic contours. It is beyond one’s imagination that how could a country with such a legacy be left stranded in the wilderness of climate change perils? What have they done to this land once glittering with four seasons, flourishing fauna and flora and life speaking its heart out!
Piteous, astounding and painful: from start to now, from end to infinity.
So, time for a reality check, sir, the fact of the matter is that unprecedented climate change has foredoomed this land whereupon the jinx of extreme weather conditions is hanging over the heads! A mere bout of 70 years has annihilated most of the greenery, the rains, the monsoons, the animals, and even the birds. German watch, an international think tank, has warned that Pakistan is among the top 10 countries most at risk due to climate change. United Nations estimated that Pakistan’s population is already expected to swell up by 300 million by 2050, which has a direct link with conservation, good scarcity, and climate change. Over the last few years, the temperatures in high and low lands have risen by 1 and 2°C simultaneously and it is further estimated that by the end of 2050 and 2080, the temperature shall have exceeded by 2.5-2.8 C and 3.9-4.4°C simultaneously. The abrupt changes in temperature graphs have led to disordered Monsoon Schedules, droughts, and other extreme environmental concerns. The glaciers in the North are now directly exposed to the sun and melting, which means that unusual rainfall patterns are wreaking havoc. To say the least, the jinx of global warming is holding back no punches, they are instead roaring with their might.
Recently, I had the honour of attending the Climate Action Roundtable 2021, under the motion “how universities can steer the climate crisis” held at “another” high-end hotel in Islamabad. British Council partnering with HEC had set up a well-favoured show that ultimately went into tatters, substance-wise, as I saw namby-pamby high-positioned representatives of illustrious institutions botching up the spirit of the show planted. The idea was simple: “how to popularise Climate Change (CC) issue among younger generation and reach out to lower diasporas of society for accentuating the problems into their dialect.” The unprepped speakers came and only exhausted themselves with problem-mentioning. They talked about everything but Conservation. Their ridiculous storytelling, nagging, and ranting regarding Climate Change perils scared the blinking life out of the audience until we met at lunchtime. People were ushered to the adjacent hall and all hell broke loose. A lot of devouring, glutting and eventually, money won became money spent!
In the post-lunch session, I tried to press on the formulation of the most-due nexus between academia and media for highlighting the issue only to see my deliberation being met with unsolicited smile passing embedded with snide, roughshod vibes, and mockery. A bureaucrat from the Ministry of Climate Change, with the brass neck, narrated us stories about what weather used to be like during his matriculation days. Upon being asked what his ministry had been up to for all these years besides good-on-paper Tsunami Tree Plantation tenets, he roped in with a “great” response: “My ministry and I worked really hard to solve climate change issue. We hired some youngsters into apprentice programs offered at university but they didn’t live up to ‘our’ expectation, so we fired them.” Hello? What? Are you for real, Mr Bureaucrat Is this what you are getting hefty paychecks for? What is the role of your organisation in mitigating the climate change issue until now? Are we here to listen to your absolutely spineless stories? What have you done on the ground? Timber mafias operating and growing exponentially, tree cutting rate surging, animals getting extinct, water reservoirs being contaminated by sewerage and drilling injectors, people dying of cholera, heat, and adulteration. What on earth are you doing, Mr Bureaucrat.

Following his pathetic rendition, more “climate change experts” would come with their cringe-worthy content, leave the audience speechless and go away. After having borne such ridiculous discourses; it was driving every sane person up the wall.

My cherry-picked, however, was Dr Sarosh from NED university, who had this thorough rationalism running through his eloquent deliberation of the subject. I’m hoping the Director of Education British Council, a reasonably well-groomed boss, would consider formulating the algorithms of such events more result-oriented. I emphasize, please do not underestimate the power of media for highlighting climate change issues as good things start NOT on papers these days. They are flaunted on screens!

The writer is based in Islamabad. He can be reached at mbilal.isbpk@gmail.com,