On May 21st, French climate expert Dr Alain Gioda visited the COMSATS University for a meeting with the CCRD team members, followed by a lecture entitled “Preparations for UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (2015)”. The event was organised in collaboration with the Embassy of France in Islamabad.
Ambassador Shahid Kamal, Dr. Khalid Riaz and CCRD Team Members first welcomed Dr Gioda at the Faculty Block on the COMSATS Islamabad campus. Dr Gioda explained that he had studied in several countries: France, Italy and England and worked in many countries from Peru to the Ivory Coast. He described his work as “action research” and pointed out that he worked on the ground. “The challenge at the global level is to have good governance; we must work with politicians and scientists. It is tricky but we must solve it (the climate crisis)”. He pointed out that the fossil fuel era was dying and a new world is coming in which we will have green/blue development. The climate crisis, he said, gives us a chance to change.
Dr Gioda later moved to the Ground Floor Lecture Hall, Business Incubation Centre (BIC), for his lecture. Malik Muhammad Uzair Khan, Member National Assembly, was the chief guest and he pointed out that it was now time to “start looking at climate change as a developmental issue and even a national security issue in Pakistan”. He further explained that it was the poor, vulnerable and marginalized that were most affected by climate change and we need to focus on this area and move forward faster and with more depth. Pakistan, he said, needed to focus on adaptation and protect vulnerable segments of society. Dr Gioda’s lecture focused on his “action research” and he explained that he had plenty of experience of working in the field in Italy, Ivory Coast, Bolivia, Peru etc. He also worked for the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK, a centre of excellence.
He briefly introduced climate change as having been 95% generated by human activities. He said that climate change was a new science and an important subject, especially in a fragile country like Pakistan, which has deserts, seashore, a growing population and high mountains. He described the COP 21 (the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Paris) as an important meeting where countries have to come up with a global governance system to curb carbon emissions. Europe and France will be the project leaders of COP 21. “Things are moving, but slowly… but we must continue; things might seem impossible but all is possible, we just have to work towards the dream”. Olivier Huyhn from the Embassy of France further added that the “Paris conference would focus on solutions”. One of the objectives of the French government is to sensitize people about the upcoming conference in Paris, and the French Embassy in Islamabad is planning a series of events this year.