The term climate is a global environmental situation which can be assessed through changes in temperature, pressure, humidity and precipitation in the atmosphere. The changes in these indicators can be assessed through different climatic events such as the melting of ice glaciers, floods and elevating sea levels. Climatic change results in the frequent occurrence of natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, storms and droughts therefore, the population must be made aware of the adaptation of climate change.
The devastations and threats that climate change has imposed upon the world over the years are visible and evident. Many countries and their residents have adaptation capacities to climate change. However, residents of Pakistan, with low-income levels, financial constraints and lack of awareness to combat climate change are comparatively more vulnerable.
It is quite evident that the temperature rate has been rising in Pakistan over the decades. The temperature has shown a higher increasing trend in northern Pakistan (0.8 degrees Celsius) compared to Southern Pakistan (0.6 degrees Celsius) over the last century. As per Maplecroft Index, the vulnerability of Pakistan due to climate change has increased from 2010 onwards, and is rated 16th out of 170 countries of the world.
The adverse effects of climate change have already been witnessed by the country in the form of an unforgettable drought of 1998-2001 while the 2005 earthquake disaster and the most unfortunate floods in 2010 and 2022. The 2010 floods imposed an economic loss of around $9.5 billion and affected 25 million people in the country. The climatic changes adversely affect the development process in all dimensions may it be economic, social or environmental.
Economically the adverse impacts of climate change are on water, food and energy security and it further extends to the sectors such as forestry, agriculture, livestock and industry etc. Pakistan is facing a scarcity of freshwater resources; per capita, water availability is decreasing over time. Since the water is declining in rivers due to threats to their watersheds it certainly affects food security. The productivity of agricultural crops is reduced in the form of crop yield gaps. The decreased flow of water into the rivers has affected the hydropower generation capacity; increased temperatures have affected the efficiency of thermal power plants putting a threat to energy security. Keeping in view the limited resources; Pakistan has to work on climate change adaptation measures to cope up with the changing weather events in order to enhance and promote sustainable development in the country. Therefore, social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development need to be integrated into the climate change policy domain.
|Economic Dimensions||Social Dimensions||Environmental Dimensions|
Pakistan has always been a part of negotiations on global climate from the time of its inception. However, policies on agriculture, water, food, livestock, health, energy, industry and transport need to be formulated keeping in view the adaptation measures of climate change so that the development process may not be affected; as these sectors hold the key to country’s economic growth and development.
To cope up with the social, economic and environmental loss incurred by natural calamities the Disaster Management area needs serious consideration. The migration and displacement aspects need more attention. Furthermore, an early warning can help reduce the loss. The economic loss should be estimated in monetary terms to know the accurate loss and to avoid them in the future through careful and need-based policies.
Awareness among the residents about the changing climate and dealing with it in a way to have sustainable development in all dimensions is very important. Workshops and seminars on climate change adaptation measures can play a fruitful role in disseminating the information to the masses. This activity ultimately would lead to enhanced economic growth and sustainable development.
Furthermore, the latest technology acquisition and increased efforts in Research and Development are needed for adaptation measures. Pakistan is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where SDG-13 emphasizes climate action. The economic loss from climate-related disasters in the world is in hundreds of billions. These disasters have also been the cause of death of about 1.3 million people between 1998 and 2017. As per the target of SDG-13, Pakistan also needs to integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.
A review of the climate change policy has to be done to modify these policies as per the need and requirements of the time. However, the scarce resources and limited income reality of the country should also be kept under consideration by policymakers. The correct and timely implementation of the policies is also an issue in Pakistan. The successful achievement of the set goals, objectives and targets is of utmost importance.
The Author is a Lecturer at NUML University Islamabad