Uzair Ali describes a relevant moot
The English Union of Pakistan is a prominent forum where important issues are discussed by worthy speakers who then respond to queries of the audience. In this context, Talk at ESUP about climate change invited Sulaiman Shahabuddin President of Aga Khan University to give a talk on ‘The Next Flood: Climate Change and the Modern Project.’ The speaker began by mentioning that we are entering a new era. It is the era of climate change and this year like never before we have reaped the rotten fruit of global warming. The amount of rain that fell on Sindh in August was eight times the average rain. The flooding was so catastrophic that we have almost forgotten the heat-wave that preceded it. Last March was the warmest ever in Pakistan. Scientists estimate that climate change has made such heat-waves 30 times more likely.
He added: “If we zoom out of Pakistan, we find global warming’s footprints are everywhere. East Africa where the AKU now has one-third of its students has suffered and continues to suffer its longest drought in 40 years. In the UK temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius for the first time. It seems that every other movie and TV show depicts the end of the world as we know it. Climate change has put a question on the entire progress that we have made. The rise in global temperatures is a direct result of scientific and technological prowess and progress. Climate change is a global, political, cultural and social challenge. We all know what we must do to reduce the carbon footprint and emissions from fossil fuels and other sources. We have known this for a long time. Even a hundred years ago, scientists knew that burning coal on a vast scale would result in the rising of global temperatures, but we have ignored those warnings and we still do. So is global warming simply our fate? Have we finally encountered a problem we cannot solve?
The floods of 2010 were bad while those of 2022 terrible. The floods of 2024 or 2034 would be even more devastating adding that instead of succumbing to the temptation of pessimism, one could hope for a positive change. He said there was hope in researching to finding solutions. “The university is the bearer, defender, promoter of modern quest. Universities are knowledge factories. They develop in the new generation the ability of producing and transferring knowledge and that the research done at universities and the knowledge contextually relevant to the country of a university are extremely important and helpful. He said that where would the fight against Covid-19 be today if not for the research done at universities by scientists? Would we have developed the vaccine faster than ever before? Would we have vaccinated five billion people? Not a chance. In this era, there is a special place for universities.
ESUP president Kalim Farooqui and International Council of the English Speaking Union (ESU) president Aziz Memon also spoke on the occasion. TW