In the absence of scientifically established verifiable data in Pakistan about the quantum of its GHG emissions and the consequently absent baseline for the culprit gases, it is but natural and logical that our country simply cannot be subject to any certification of its emission cuts that it may strive to achieve. We, in the event, can morally seek all the help for all aspects of emissions mitigation as well as adaptation endeavors. Unlike India and China, the developed world (Annex-I countries) cannot pin Pakistan down for any certifiable targets, nevertheless it would be unwise not to adopt voluntarily some of those targets along with the recommended policy instruments to gear up an efficiency movement in our production and consumption patterns.
Starved for revenue and funding for its ever compounding social and security challenges, investing in green issues and policies would be even more difficult for the decision and policy makers of Pakistan, seeing no immediate and visible returns but only uncertain and distant “academic” benefits. Politically, at the top as well as at the masses level, it is going to be a hard-sell.
The situation thus calls for ingenious innovations at all levels. The instruments of carbon price vis-à-vis regulation and subsidy could be fused in a variety of combinations sector wise to enable meaningful interventions for the sake of climate friendly efficiency enhancements and emission suppression.
Political will is the weakest link in the chain but the hardest to fix, the world agrees. Being acutely aware of that, we need to find a model of governance which happily reconciles the indigenous politics with the required economics, triggering appropriate behavioural change.
People have problems understanding risk and science, thus we require a patient and clear dialogue explaining the costs and benefits of resorting to appropriate climate change decision making.
Pakistan cannot afford to be a laggard and miss out on the benefits of sustained low carbon culture and economy in the CDM and other fruits of the subsequent commitment period emanating from Copenhagen in the post-Kyoto package. Political leaders thus have to provide a clear, ambitious and long-term policy framework of appropriately set targets and regulations.
Governments in their planning and finance at all levels have to evaluate their spendings and interventions on the basis of their carbon footprint. Exercises must be commenced forthwith.
Ways have to be found for carbon pricing to be built feasibly into the financial architecture to incentivise and commercialise potentially climate friendly technologies and practices.
Concurrently, political leaders have to continuously sensitise their constituencies to the benefits of low carbon actions and practices, ensuring strong R&D for achieving breakthrough innovations.
Private sector and business are not absolved from their responsibilities for tackling global warming. They must work closely with the government and the public sector to build upon financing of clean and viable technologies. They should closely liaise with researches and universities for fostering and strengthening bonding between invention and innovation. Businesses should also set model behaviour by demonstrating acceptance of disruptive innovation and practices, even if threatening existing business models. They must remain open and transparent about the risk and long-term benefits of the new direction.
Similarly, for the scientific community, their obligations are equally important towards climate change. They should promote linkages with industries and encourage young scientists for embarking upon enterprise researches. They should particularly focus on the gaps in the prevailing technological landscape like inefficiencies in power generation, smart grids, solar and wind energy and other technical losses and hemorrhages caused by a variety of known and unknown reasons.
International donors could and must re-tailor their existing aid commitments and future help usefully and fruitfully by focussing on the above areas.