Climate change: a serious threat to Pakistan

Climate change is one of the biggest problems the whole world is collectively facing. Not only small and developing countries like Pakistan are the worst sufferers in view of their inability to cope with the weather related disasters like flash floods, it is also adversely affecting the affluent countries as well, in the shape of freak weather, hurricanes and severe flooding of the settled areas.

However, Pakistan is getting recurrently affected from extreme weather events both in the short-term and long-term index. Regretfully, Pakistan is ranked on 7th position in the list of ten countries which have been badly affected by the climate change with a death toll of 523.1 lives per year i.e. 10,462 lives lost in 20 years and economic losses worth US $ 3.8 billion — equivalent to 0.605 per cent of the GDP in the 20 year period. The super floods of 2010 placed Pakistan on the top slot among the countries most affected by climate change as it lost US $25.3 billion and 5.4 per cent of the GDP, according to Germanwatch.

As a developing country, with abject poverty and severely limited resources, climate change has the potential to become the biggest and most destructive problem for Pakistan in the future. But the saddest realization is that even though Pakistan is classified as one of the most vulnerable countries with respect to climate change, it is not a major emitter of greenhouse gasses. In fact, Pakistan’s emission levels are negligible, standing at a mere 0.7 percent of the total world emissions.

Aggravated climate change will severely deteriorate human health. Warmer climate will result in the increase of many water and air and borne diseases. Additionally, deteriorating food security because of lower agriculture production will increase malnutrition, subsequently decreasing immunity to diseases. Furthermore, health facilities may be too expensive for them to avail.

Hence, it is necessary 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. Thus, the government should prioritize increasing awareness amongst the citizens. For Pakistan there is no escape from this either with or without the assistance of the international organisations and funds created for the purpose. In order to survive climate change, necessary steps must be undertaken. To this end, the government and the people of Pakistan needs to enhance cooperation in various fields, and the international community needs to be engaged. If these efforts are made wholeheartedly, Pakistan can successfully weather the storm, and leave a brighter future for its coming generations.