Islamabad - As part of its Science Diplomacy Programme launched in February this year, COMSATS has organized a talk on ‘UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and Beyond’ in cooperation with Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS) at the latter’s premises. The talk was given by Dr. Athar Hussain, Professor at Department of Meteorology, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), who is also the designated COMSATS Science Ambassador for Climate Change.

The expert lecture was attended by a gathering of over 90 participants, representing relevant government departments, climate change and environment professionals, academicians, scholars, as well as members of NGOs. The objective of this ‘science communication’ activity was to provide a platform for knowledge sharing and dialogue and discussion on various aspects of climate change amongst different stakeholders of the society.

Dr. Hussain, in his lecture elaborated the relationship between Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and global warming (GW). He noted that GHGs have far reaching consequences for the dynamics of the atmosphere itself, such as stratospheric ozone hole recovery, in addition to rise in surface temperature. He discussed the phenomenon of ‘Hiatus in Global Warming’ and touched upon the role of ‘climate stabilization’ and how it affects the climate variables, such as surface temperature and rise in sea level.

After sharing some statistical information on global warming, Dr. Hussain gave a brief overview of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the role of Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 by a number of nations. He informed that the Protocol calls for reducing GHG emissions to an average of at least 18% below 1990 levels.

Taking Pakistan into the perspective, he informed that Pakistan accounts for less than 1% of the total global emissions, however, suggested maintaining a comprehensive national GHG inventory and establishing Green Technology industries that promote low Carbon emissions. He noted that the way forward for the world community to meet the challenges of climate change is to ensure constant dialogue among various national stakeholders to come up with more comprehensive and feasible carbon reduction plans in the short-, medium-, and long-term scales.

A major highlight of the event was the signing of an MoU to formalize the cooperation between COMSATS and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) in the field Science Diplomacy. Before signing the said agreement on behalf of COMSATS, Executive Director, Dr. I.E. Qureshi acknowledged the support of Pakistan Academy of Sciences. In view of unique geo-political circumstances, developmental disparities and economic limitations of the countries of the South, Dr. Qureshi asserted the need for pragmatic and informed decision-making regarding issues of global climate change and international commitments and policies, leading to consensus on binding international agreements.

He also dilated upon major ways in which Diplomacy and Science are essentially bound together, in view of the jargon of Science Diplomacy that has been coined since 2012.

Earlier, Dr. Arshad Saleem Bhatti, Coordinator Science Diplomacy Programme, made a brief introduction to COMSATS’ Science Diplomacy Programme.