Climate change is reality, deal with it!

As shifting weather patterns and extreme climates become the norm, lack of access to climate, funds are becoming detrimental for developing countries such as Pakistan are facing the brunt of climate change. Although, Pakistan only emits 0.43 per cent of greenhouse gases which is nothing as compared to other developed countries and comes at the 135th number in the world for the emission of carbon dioxide and yet it is among 10 countries affected most by climate change, according to the 2018 Global Climate Risk Index released by the public policy group German watch.

Impact on Pakistan: The harmful impacts of this global warming is already manifesting in the form of extreme weather events like storms, smog, floods and droughts, all of which have been mounting infrequency and intensity.

Being a predominantly agriculture economy, climate change is estimated to decrease crop yields in Pakistan which in turn will affect livelihoods and food production. Combining the decreased yields with the current rapid population growth and urbanization in the country, the risk of hunger and food security will remain high.

Endemic morbidity and mortality due to diseases primarily associated with floods and droughts are expected to rise. Increases in coastal water temperatures would exacerbate the abundance of cholera. The impact of climate change will also aggravate the existing social inequalities of resource use and intensify social factors leading to instability, conflicts, displacement of people and changes in migration patterns.

On 6th November 2019 people in Lahore witnessed the worst possible scenario of SMOG according to Air Quality Index Lahore’s (AQI) jumped from less than 200 rose to more than 500 which was an alarming situation for the general public.  In June 2015, more than 1,200 people died from the heat nationwide and 65,000 were treated for heat illnesses, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority for the Karachi region reported.

Depleting water supplies are another problem in a country where 60 per cent of the land receives less than 10 inches of rain per year. Rivers are mainly fed by the Hindu Kush-Karakoram Himalayan glaciers, which are melting rapidly due to global warming. At 50.2 degrees Celsius, Nawabshah in Sindh province recorded in April 2018 the highest temperature ever recorded globally. These were the few examples of adversarial effects of climate change across Pakistan.

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), climate finance is critical in addressing climate change because large-scale investments are required to adapt to changing climates, reducing emissions, and shifting to a more sustainable future. Pakistan’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) submitted to the 2015 Paris Agreement aims to reduce up to 20 per cent of its 2030 projected GHG emissions using international grants for adaptation and mitigation of approximately $40 billion.

What measures can be taken to cope with climate change?

Improving technological responses by setting in place early warning systems and information systems to enhance disaster preparedness. Developing new and innovative farm production practices, including new crop varieties and irrigation techniques.

  • By starting afforestation projects on a large scale
  • Improving forest management and biodiversity conservation
  • Driving fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Power your home with renewable energy

It is necessary at present to engage local communities (both urban and rural) to understand climate change, mitigate against it, and adapt natural solutions to climate using citizen and civic movements. Unless the government does not prioritize increasing awareness amongst the citizens, very little difference can be made by projects that require billions of dollars in funding.

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