View from Pakistan

How Pakistan won a skirmish with India over climate change funds

At a meeting in South Korea, India opposed a proposed Pakistani project to reduce risks from climate change.

Songdo, South Korea is not a place that would normally spring to mind as a venue for an Indo-Pak confrontation. Last week, however, the boardrooms of the Green Climate Fund witnessed a fascinating spectacle involving the two South Asian states. What was at stake this time? Thirty-nine million dollars and the livelihood of 7,00,000 of the poorest and most vulnerable people of our country.

Formed in 2010 and a centrepiece of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Green Climate Fund is the primary global vehicle to finance climate change-related interventions in developing countries.

In Songdo, where it is based, the Green Climate Fund board met last week to review and approve 10 projects worth $800 million that would help millions of poor people adapt to the risks of climate change.

Among these projects was one submitted by Pakistan – a crucial first for our country given that we are one of the most at-risk places when it comes to climate change.

Supported by the United Nations Development Program, the project is meant to reduce risks and impact of flooding outbursts from glacial lakes in communities in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Green Climate Fund's independent technical committee concluded that the project would provide protection to more than 7,00,000 people, and gave it the go-ahead.

But not before significant drama and tension, as India attempted to have the decision derailed.

In a waffling set of attacks, Indian board member Dinesh Sharma, a Special Secretary in Indian Ministry of Finance, put forth several contradictory reasons for his opposition to the Pakistani project:

The science on glacial melt was weak and hence the project itself was weak; the project risk assessment, he felt, proved that there would be no impact (he was unable to clarify what he meant by ‘no impact’); and that somehow the mitigation work in Pakistan – mostly the installation of early warning and other sensory systems and capacity building of communities – could increase the risks that Indians on the other side of the border were exposed to.

The more Sharma insisted that he was challenging the project on technical rather than political grounds, the more isolated he became. As his objections grew, the true nature of his hostility became more and more obvious to everyone on the board, even though he kept on insisting that his position was only meant to safeguard the credibility of the GCF. His position backfired and ended up generating significant sympathy for Pakistan from developed and developing countries alike.

A robust project meant that the Pakistani board member did not even need to respond directly to Indian concerns. In fact, it were other board members who spoke up in Pakistan’s defence, which was a testament to the country’s case and conduct at the meeting.

Ultimately, group pressure from the entire board, including the South African co-chair, led to the Indian representative being isolated and having no choice but to go with the consensus in the room and approve the project.

And just for the record, this is not propaganda from a Pakistani patriot; the evidence is available in the documented recordings of all the proceedings on the GCF website.

As someone who has worked and collaborated extensively with my Indians counterparts in this field, it was sad to see India’s opposition when there was no need for any.

As two developing countries, Pakistan and India have generally collaborated on climate change issues. But it seems that after having whipped up a hysteria against its neighbour in order to deflect attention from the very real challenges it faces in Kashmir, the Indian government has become a victim of its own narrative on Pakistan.

Since New Delhi cannot actually take the kind of military action it says it can take against Pakistan, the Indian government will use any trick in the book to try to isolate Pakistan otherwise.

After the hyperbole over ‘surgical strikes’, cancellation of the SAARC summit, and the Bollywood and kabaddi boycotts, it seems that the next platform of this campaign was the boardroom of the GCF.

Does India really need to take Indo-Pak politics into the realms of the global efforts against climate change? Clearly, the rest of the world does not think so.

For Pakistan there is a lesson in this as well. Songdo shows us that we are not isolated and that with a clear position, the right preparation and effective lobbying, the international community will back us where we are right.

This article first appeared on Dawn.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What’s the difference between ‘a’ washing machine and a ‘great’ washing machine?

The right machine can save water, power consumption, time, energy and your clothes from damage.

In 2010, Hans Rosling, a Swedish statistician, convinced a room full of people that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution. In the TED talk delivered by him, he illuminates how the washing machine freed women from doing hours of labour intensive laundry, giving them the time to read books and eventually join the labour force. Rosling’s argument rings true even today as it is difficult to deny the significance of the washing machine in our everyday lives.

For many households, buying a washing machine is a sizable investment. Oddly, buyers underestimate the importance of the decision-making process while buying one and don’t research the purchase as much as they would for a television or refrigerator. Most buyers limit their buying criteria to type, size and price of the washing machine.

Visible technological advancements can be seen all around us, making it fair to expect a lot more from household appliances, especially washing machines. Here are a few features to expect and look out for before investing in a washing machine:

Cover your basics

Do you wash your towels every day? How frequently do you do your laundry? Are you okay with a bit of manual intervention during the wash cycle? These questions will help filter the basic type of washing machine you need. The semi-automatics require manual intervention to move clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub and are priced lower than a fully-automatic. A fully-automatic comes in two types: front load and top load. Front loading machines use less water by rotating the inner drum and using gravity to move the clothes through water.

Size matters

The size or the capacity of the machine is directly proportional to the consumption of electricity. The right machine capacity depends on the daily requirement of the household. For instance, for couples or individuals, a 6kg capacity would be adequate whereas a family of four might need an 8 kg or bigger capacity for their laundry needs. This is an important factor to consider since the wrong decision can consume an unnecessary amount of electricity.

Machine intelligence that helps save time

In situations when time works against you and your laundry, features of a well-designed washing machine can come to rescue. There are programmes for urgent laundry needs that provide clean laundry in a super quick 15 to 30 minutes’ cycle; a time delay feature that can assist you to start the laundry at a desired time etc. Many of these features dispel the notion that longer wash cycles mean cleaner clothes. In fact, some washing machines come with pre-activated wash cycles that offer shortest wash cycles across all programmes without compromising on cleanliness.

The green quotient

Despite the conveniences washing machines offer, many of them also consume a substantial amount of electricity and water. By paying close attention to performance features, it’s possible to find washing machines that use less water and energy. For example, there are machines which can adjust the levels of water used based on the size of the load. The reduced water usage, in turn, helps reduce the usage of electricity. Further, machines that promise a silent, no-vibration wash don’t just reduce noise – they are also more efficient as they are designed to work with less friction, thus reducing the energy consumed.

Customisable washing modes

Crushed dresses, out-of-shape shirts and shrunken sweaters are stuff of laundry nightmares. Most of us would rather take out the time to hand wash our expensive items of clothing rather than trusting the washing machine. To get the dirt out of clothes, washing machines use speed to first agitate the clothes and spin the water out of them, a process that takes a toll on the fabric. Fortunately, advanced machines come equipped with washing modes that control speed and water temperature depending on the fabric. While jeans and towels can endure a high-speed tumble and spin action, delicate fabrics like silk need a gentler wash at low speeds. Some machines also have a monsoon mode. This is an India specific mode that gives clothes a hot rinse and spin to reduce drying time during monsoons. A super clean mode will use hot water to clean the clothes deeply.

Washing machines have come a long way, from a wooden drum powered by motor to high-tech machines that come equipped with automatic washing modes. Bosch washing machines include all the above-mentioned features and provide damage free laundry in an energy efficient way. With 32 different washing modes, Bosch washing machines can create custom wash cycles for different types of laundry, be it lightly soiled linens, or stained woollens. The ActiveWater feature in Bosch washing machines senses the laundry load and optimises the usage of water and electricity. Its EcoSilentDrive motor draws energy from a permanent magnet, thereby saving energy and giving a silent wash. The fear of expensive clothes being wringed to shapelessness in a washing machine is a common one. The video below explains how Bosch’s unique VarioDrumTM technology achieves damage free laundry.

Play

To start your search for the perfect washing machine, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Bosch and not by the Scroll editorial team.