Wednesday April 24, 2024

Climate finance

By Editorial Board
April 17, 2023

President of the COP28 climate talks Sultan Al Jaber has called for “available, accessible and affordable” finance for countries that are most vulnerable to climate change, saying that it is time a "fair deal" were managed for the Global South, "especially when it comes to climate finance". Al Jabar is not wrong. There has to be a proportionate response from the Global North so that communities that get a direct impact of climate change are able to access the services they need to survive. Around the world, there are nearly 100 million people who have found themselves forced to flee their homes as opposed to 60 million in 2014. Since it is pretty much a given now that the developing world is likely to see a surge in acute hunger, rich and developed countries need to drastically cut their emissions. Unless they enhance their efforts to compensate low-income countries, the miseries of people will keep surging in 2023 and much beyond.

Reduced water supplies and contamination in soil badly affect crop yields that are much lower in quality and quantity now in many parts of the world especially in developing countries. This reduction is a direct corollary of global heating across continents. To compound the problem, unprecedented floods turn out to be harmful for crops and soil and also result in increased waterlogging in the affected areas. On the other extreme are wildfires that devour thousands of square kilometres of land and burn standing crops and forests without discrimination. These cascades of floods and heatwaves and wildfires have been wreaking havoc year after year in the past couple of decades.

At least the world appears to be realizing that we are facing a climate emergency. As for Pakistan, we have to grapple with some of the most polluted cities in the world. This must serve as a wakeup call for while we celebrate international commitments we must not forget our own backyard. Pakistan also faces the additional challenge of rebuilding and recovery efforts for millions of internally displaced people. Dealing with climate change requires both going on the offensive by drastically reducing worldwide emissions and defensive measures to improve our ability to deal with extreme weather events. As a country that is already prone to flooding – and spectacularly ill-equipped to deal with it – any further climate-change impacts would be devastating.