WELCOME REMARKS – Public Talk on “Climate Change: Energy Strategies for Mitigation”


Climate Change: Energy Strategies for Mitigation

Public Talk by Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel

26 November 2019

Worthy Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I extend you all, a warm welcome to the Institute of Strategic Studies.

We are gathered here today to listen to Ambassador Kakakhel on Climate Change: Energy Strategies for Mitigation. Ambassador Kakakhel has spent decades dealing with environmental issues, including climate change. Thank you Sir for accepting to talk to us.

This year, we have organized two events on energy issues of Pakistan and one on climate change. Dr Zia Aladad, Dr Gulfraz, and Dr Adil Najam spoke at this forum. We are happy that we are continuing this discourse as the topic for today’s public talk is very important. Especially for Pakistan which is the eighth most affected country by climate change[1].  

By and large, the recognition of the problem is well noted. However, what is needed is adaption action that is also development enhancing.

  • Pakistan must reduce domestic emissions from all sectors.
  • We also need local adaptation strategies on how to deal with the impacts, involving local stakeholders.
  • We should also be open to getting international support, such as through the Green Climate Fund.

Mitigating the impacts of climate change is one side of the story. Living with the impacts is another. Ignoring the impacts of climate change is no longer an option.

Just look at the array of the key climate change concerns for Pakistan:

  • Increased variability of monsoons,
  • Receding Himalayan glaciers, with impact on the Indus River system, decreased capacity of water reservoirs, reduced hydropower during drought years, and extreme events including floods and droughts.
  • Other potential climate change induced impacts include: severe water stress; food insecurity due to decreasing agricultural and livestock production; more prevalent pests and weeds; degradation of ecosystems; and biodiversity loss.
  • Higher temperatures may affect the composition, distribution and productivity of mangroves, while lower precipitation could contribute to salt stress.

Imagine if water sea-level continues to rise; floods occur frequently; droughts happen; and glaciers melt. Water stress could quickly become a food security issue.

Pakistan has rightly supported and engaged with international efforts to mitigate impacts of climate change. However, scientific data suggests that it will now be nearly impossible to meet the Paris Agreement target of restricting climate change to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This means that the countries like Pakistan must get ready for living in a world with climate impacts. The developing countries like Pakistan will have to bear the bulk of the burden of adaptation itself.

In the past two events that we organized on energy issues of Pakistan, we had noted the need for an Integrated Energy Plan with participation from public and private sector stakeholders.

I hope that you would find today’s public talk useful. This Institute would continue to stimulate discussion on this important topic.

Thank you all once again for gracing this important event. 

[1] from 1998 to 2018 according to the Long-Term Climate Risk Index (CRI).