ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, says present unsustainable global economic order has brutally over-exploited the natural resources to achieve so-called development, which has benefited only few while plunging millions more into poverty, hunger, disease and debt trap, particularly in developing countries.
“The world direly needs a whole new economic framework to cope with these challenges being aggravated further by the consequences of the global warming caused by increasing trajectory of emissions of climate-altering and heat-trapping greenhouse gases, mainly carbon-dioxide,” the minister underlined in a press statement issued here on Sunday.
Mushahidullah Khan cautioned that the world was unlikely to be able to deal with the pressing threat of global warming and achieve sustainable development goals without a new economic order, through which it could be made binding on rich industrialised countries and the world’s top historic polluters to use natural resources in a more judicious manner and move from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
What he termed the “business as usual” model of development has led to dangerous levels of pollution, triggered climate change and biodiversity loss, and has fallen flat to wipe out poverty and inequality. All countries, Khan said, should make a shift towards a zero-carbon economy, which was ultimately the key to durable development and prosperity. But it was a tremendous challenge, particularly for developing countries.
“No one can deny the fact that no country has developed without fossil fuels to date. However, o co-operation is key to providing the technology, finance, skills and systems to create an alternative way of developing countries to adjust to the impacts of unfolding climate change for which rich countries are responsible,” she said.
He backed statement of the Irish President Michael D Higgins that “present generation could be the last one with the chance of responding to the urgent, uncontested effects of climate change”. “The Irish president, last week rightly told at a meeting in Paris entitled the ‘Summit of Consciences for the Climate’ that the challenge of climate change provided opportunities to build up a new economic order for humanity and for the sustainability of mother Earth,” the minister highlighted.
Mushahidullah Khan said that Kofi Annan also rightly told the summit that the threat posed by climate change is as grave as the danger of nuclear war. The summit was convened by the President of France, François Hollande, and was attended by religious groups, Nobel laureates and artists, as well as prominent politicians.
The event was one of a series of gatherings to be held in the run-up to the two-week UN climate change conference in Paris in December, at which a new global climate agreement is due to be finalised between developed and developing countries to keep the global carbon emission levels below 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
While quoting from the latest 5th Assessment Report (AR5) of the globally acclaimed UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change (IPCC), the Minister Mushahidullah Khan said, “ A global deal to keep warming below the UN-approved ceiling of 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels by year 2100 would mean “forsaking the use of 80 percent of fossil-based energy resources to which we still have easy access.”
Scientists have warned in the IPCC’s AR5 report that failure to achieve the ambitious target by significantly slashing the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere would lead to an escalation in extreme weather events such as intense droughts, floods and glacial melt, accelerated sea level rise, drastic reduction in crop yields, extinct of different species, rise in wildfire, torrential rainfall incidents, storms and cyclones, he highlighted.
Khan said, “Keeping the global average temperature level within 2 degree Celsius limit is inevitable for earth to remain liveable and save its species from extinct.” So far, global temperatures have risen about 0.85C above pre-industrial levels, according to UN reports, he remarked.
Senator Mushahidullah Khan argued, “Climate change is grounded in forms of development and industrialisation that are based on the exploitation of fossil fuels, with a notion of infinite growth.” Massive movements of capital had created what he termed great fissures of inequality, and such freewheeling capitalism had shown itself capable of dislodging the whole fiscal system.
The global challenges of climate change and inequality could not be met if governments were not in control of their economies, which have gulped the natural sources and degraded environment by increasing trajectory of carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
While leaders of developing countries are voluntarily trying to find a way of building a more sustainable model of socio-economic development without increasing emissions of climate-changing carbon emissions, it is obligatory for the leaders of developed/rich countries including US, China, Russia, Japan, Germany, Canada, UK and South Korea, which are among top 10 carbon emitting/polluting countries.