Running in overtime


Against the backdrop of over two-week UN climate deliberations, the latest survey released by the Risk Modeling Firm (RMF) paints a bleak and worrying scenario for Pakistan, which has been reeling under an unprecedented flood disaster that struck the country in August and September.
There are not two opinions that in view of its proneness to climate-induced disasters, Pakistan has pushed hard to advocate the cause of the vulnerable and poor countries at the summit, COP27, which running in overtime appeared teetering at the brink of collapse over thorny issues, but was rescued to deliver a deal on the major stumbling block of climate “Loss and Damage Fund”.
As the poor countries are elated over the deal, we need not be carried away merely by the fact that in case of climate induced disasters in future, the developed countries would deliver the pledged handouts to mitigate the sufferings. Instead, we have to enhance our own defences and prioritize our national needs to tackle the dreaded climate change and its calamitous effects.
After suffering an estimated loss of $3 billion, Pakistan’s flood disaster has been ranked as the tenth most expensive climate-related disasters with the California wildfires of 2017-18 topping the chart of the highest costliest disaster of the past decade as its damages estimated nearly at $328.5 billion. The others are, as the RMF survey pinpoints, the Atlantic hurricanes of 2017 with losses of $297billion.
Apart from flooding and hurricanes, the bushfires which devoured larger swathes of land in Austrilia in 2019-20 were estimated to have incurred losses amounting to $110 billion. Following the recent wave of devastating weather events and unprecedented losses to infrastructure, livestock, homes and sources of livelihood, Pakistan has successfully exploited the opportunities to gain access to international forums to present its case to the developed nations and be able to be classified as the first recipients of the ‘Global Shield Funding’ pledged by the developed nations at the COP27.
The Global Shield Initiative, which has been launched by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, which are together known as G-7, aims to provide and facilitate more and better pre-arranged financing to climate vulnerable nations so that they can more effectively minimize and address loss and damage caused by the climate change. The climate talks ran in overtime to deliver a deal. But, here, what we have as a nation is not enough time and a stark need of resources to move forward and tackle the ticking climate bomb. Our government and policy makers need to relentlessly pursue a national climate mitigation plan to avert further destruction and save an increasing number of communities getting more prone to the disastrous impacts of climate change.