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    Blue Economy model must be embedded with climate adaptation and mitigation: Sherry Rehman

    Blue Economy model must be embedded with climate adaptation and mitigation: Sherry Rehman

    Chitral Times Report

    ISLAMABAD: “Turning to the Blue Economy is the key to finding a sustainable economic model for Pakistan, but we must focus on climate adaptation and mitigation as climate change and plastic pollution is stressing and choking our oceans and seas, challenging our ability to embrace Blue Economy,” said Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman during the Pakistan International Maritime Expo & Conference organized by the National Institute of Maritime Affairs. The Minister said, “It is a dangerous decade for us because it is an accelerated decade of global warming. We are going to experience it disproportionately as science is telling us that this accelerated pace of change is much faster than predicted earlier. Sea levels will be rising much faster because we are not on the track to keep the planet under 1.5C, as promised under the Paris Agreement.

    At the rate we are going, we will hit 2.8 degrees or even 3 degrees at the turn of the century. By then, we in the front line vulnerable countries will have felt the burn much faster than anybody else.” The Minister highlighted that the ocean ecosystems are extremely stressed, and their collapse will pose a major threat to marine life and aquaculture. “Every ecosystem is completely connected through the oceans. There are 400 dead zones in the world’s oceans today, and as one ecosystem fails, it will take the next one as well, and it can come to us too.

    The ocean act as a conveyor belt for streams that regulates our seasons and once those start slowing down, then we will have a real crisis that will not just impact marine life, but existence on land as well,” said the Minister. The Minister said that the oceans are the largest carbon sinks in the world, as they have absorbed 90% of carbon emissions over the last 50 years. “Our oceans are the largest carbon sinks in the world, and they are absorbing increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, leading to high ocean acidification.

    The most alarming threat right now is the melting Arctic as scientists warn that it could melt as soon as the year 2040 if emissions continue to rise, and once the Arctic is no longer ice, all tipping points will be crossed,” the Minister stated. She further said that civilizations have used oceans for conquests and for commerce, but now we judge the oceans through their ability to be a carbon sink and as the vector of a blue economy that can make commerce sustainable, but the ocean’s health is deteriorating as they are under severe shock and threat. Minister Rehman stated that in 2021, the world generated 139 million metric tons of single-use plastic and recycling is not scaling up fast enough to deal with the amount of plastic being produced. “The science tells us to stop consuming the way we used to, yet we are continuing to produce and use single-use plastics at alarming rates. Less than 10% of the plastic is getting recycled and the mismanagement is leading to choking our oceans. Marine life is ingesting microplastics, leading them to land up in our dinner plates. We are reaching a tipping point, where there will be more plastics in the sea than fish by 2050.

    We need to know the enemy. If there was an extinction event, the legacy of human civilization would be plastics that are choking our oceans, waterways, and destroying our seas. The sea is the origin of much life, and it is the mother of all finite resources that we have taken for granted,” said the Minister. Minister Rehman said that Ministry of Climate Change has launched the Living Indus Initiative, which is the largest adaptation project in Pakistan. “The Initiative is the Axis of Adaptation for Pakistan, and the interventions under the initiative will pave the way for Pakistan to successfully implement its Blue Economy model,” she said.

    The Minister concluded that as individuals, we must reevaluate our lifestyles in personal and professional capacity and take immediate actions that can reduce overusing of resources. “While we are not the biggest emitters, we are in the frontline of the climate crisis. Although we can’t stop others, we can start changing our lifestyles and start focusing on adaptation. Pakistan is facing the most formidable economic challenge in its 75 years history, and the Blue Economy offers an opportunity in these challenging times, as challenges to societies during hard times present opportunities that we can adapt to,” she stated.

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