Most if not all natural disasters we’re currently facing such as floods, heat waves, drought, deforestation, storms, worsening air quality and food scarcity are due to climate change.
According to experts, these changes can cause complex diseases, with a sudden rise in temperature and inexplicable rains being the major reasons behind them.
Due to this, various socio-communal areas have been impacted such as human health, civic services, water-related infrastructure, and hydropower generation and these factors have led to an international inter-dependence, which has destabilized the interconnection among the factors, including water, food and energy supplies to the societies around the world.
Rising Sea Levels
Misbah-ul-Haq Khan, Deputy Director of Punjab Environment Protection Department (PEPD), whilst talking to APP, said that in Pakistan, the hot climate, shifts in snowmelt patterns and increase in sea levels and rainfalls are placing substantial pressure on natural resources.
He said that glaciers in Pakistan’s northern areas were melting at an alarming rate due to global warming and climate change, which could lead to water shortage by up to 60%, impacting energy and agriculture security.
Pakistan is ranked amongst the top 10 countries impacted the most by climate change according to public policy group Gremanwatch’s 2018 Global Climate Risk Index report.
Dr. Mehmood Khalid Qamar, a renowned Environmentalist said that Pakistan’s deltaic area is being adversely impacted by environmental hazards and could expose more than 2.5 million people to water scarcity, rising sea level effects, and food insecurity.
Northern Areas Face Rising Temperatures
He said that people living in the northern areas are exposed to glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), which were another danger currently faced by Pakistan.
Currently, he said, one of the major risks of global warming that Pakistan faces is that of glacial melting and aside from this, the increase in temperatures is leading to the disappearance of Pakistan’s coastal regions, mangroves, and saline-water forests. A majority of the mountainous valleys, which never used to go beyond 30 degree Celsius during summers are nowadays seeing temperatures around 40 degree Celsius these days.
Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) country representative said:
Climate change had posed serious challenges to Pakistan’s social, economic and ecological systems, where vast population still depends on predominantly agriculture-based rural economies.
Impact on Rural Areas
He said the hardest hit regions by the climate change in Pakistan are the rural areas. Cheema said that steadily increasing temperatures posed a grave risk to Pakistan’s efforts for achieving viable food security according to multiple studies.
He added that investments in the remote and barren areas must be boosted to increase the forest cover and bring relevant institutions onboard. Dr. Ijaz, former Director of World Wide Fund for Conservation of Nature (WWF) said that climate viability of crops needs to be taken into account before planning farming to obtain optimum yields.
Greenhouse Gases in Pakistan
While explaining the nature of greenhouse gases, an official at the Pakistan Council of Scientific Industrial Research (PCSIR) said that carbon dioxide (CO2) 72%, methane 18% and nitrous-oxide 9% make up the greenhouse gases in the air in Pakistan.
Officials at the Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) said that the center is giving proposals to the government to help initiate more tree plantation projects and tackle climate change and global warming.
Under the Green Pakistan initiative, millions of saplings have been planned across the country led by the incumbent government according to sources at the Ministry of Climate Change.
“There is a dire need to adopt measures on war-footing to create awareness among the farming community about the impact of climate change”, Deputy Director Ministry of Climate Change Muhammad Saleem Shaikh said.