Durlabh Ashok, who represented Pakistan at the Glasgow Conference, has been active in environment protection since he was 13. In an exclusive interview, Durlabh Ashok talks about the significant cause of global warming that is irresponsible human activities, with growing industries and greenhouse gas emissions. He has worked on 18 projects that aimed at facilitate
According to experts, indiscriminate deforestation and the use of wood and coal as fuel have gradually given rise to global temperatures. But with the use of oil and natural gas, the temperature has risen even more sharply. Combustion of these fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, etc., which increase the atmosphere’s temperature by absorbing and trapping the sunlight. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by about 12% in the last two decades.
Why is the Glasgow Conference so important?
Opening the World Environment Conference in Glasgow, COP26 President Alok Sharma said, “We all know that the planet is in turmoil at the moment. We are all here together to find the desired solutions to these problems. The problem is not so simple as it involves a lot of government policy. Governments generally do not formulate their policies following the guidelines provided by environmentalists, which are necessary to deal with climate change.
Pakistan based environment activist Durlabh Ashok says that the United States, European Union, China, and Russia are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases worldwide, while poor and developing countries, including Pakistan, have a mere share. But everyone is being affected, so representatives of several developing countries are putting forward their demands in Glasgow conference, which include top-notch funding for tackling climate change.” The dangers to the planet are common to all, so everyone must help each other clean up their mess.
Where does Pakistan stand in the environment war?
Durlabh Ashok said that our share in climate change is negligible; Pakistan’s share in the total global greenhouse gas emissions is only 0.72%, “but we see that Pakistan is being severely affected by climate change.
Several Pakistani cities topped the list of hottest cities in the world this summer. Sindh and Balochistan are in the grip of severe drought due to a change in rainfall patterns, and rising temperatures are causing the Himalayan glaciers to melt faster than ever before. At the same time, Pakistan also faces an energy crisis. Durlabh Ashok further said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced the closure of coal power plants as they have played a key role in increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
Climate change is having devastating impacts on human life. According to Ashok, however, the problem is that layperson in Pakistan are not well aware of finding the solutions to these problems on their own, as we see in Africa, Bangladesh, China, and India. There are positive outcomes from the efforts of the layperson and their self-sustained projects.”
Durlabh further added that in COP 26, as a board member of the “Plant for Plant Foundation”, he represents Pakistan in two more panel discussions, including Climate Change Youth Leadership. When forests are cut down or burned, carbon dioxide is lost. This is why several European countries, including the United States, are opting for bio-energy or biomass instead of wind and solar energy as renewable energy resources, which not only allows us to restore our lost forests but also through the use of biomass, the emissions of greenhouse gases could be minimized.
He says this requires mobilizing the younger generation and launching tree planting campaigns at the national level with proper planning and strategy. Durlabh hopes that he will learn a lot and return to Pakistan with several new projects.
According to a report released by the IPCC in 2021, extreme heatwaves, storms, catastrophic rains, and floods are now common in different parts of the world due to rising temperatures. If global warming is not limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the coming years, there will be more horrific natural disasters in the future.
The 2015 Paris Agreement stipulates that countries that are causing more greenhouse gas emissions will co-operate to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. But due to the countries’ own interests and non-cooperation, this has not been possible so far.
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Saadeqa Khan is the founder, CEO, & Editor-in-Chief of Scientia Pakistan. She’s a member of the Oxford Climate Journalism Network (Second Cohort) and NASW. Saadeqa is a fellow of NPF Washington, The Falling Walls Foundation, and the Science Journalism Forum. Saadeqa has won several international journalism grants and awards for her reports.