Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns. When that change lasts for an extended period of time (i.e., decades to millions of years). Climate change may refer to a change in average weather conditions. Or in the time variation of weather within the context of longer-term average conditions. Climate Change leads the world temperature so high. Its temperature has been going up around the world for many decades.
Pakistan ranks 135th in terms of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Yet, it’s amongst the countries most affected by climate change. Over the years, it has lost billions of dollars. Due to an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. However, sufficient resources have not been allocated to address the issue.
Climate Change and Pakistan-Effects and Causes
In 2015, only PKR39 million were allocated to the ministry of climate change, which is not sufficient to adapt and mitigate the issue. Pakistan has experienced damages worth an estimated USD 10 billion dollars as a result of the floods of 2010. According to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank reports.
The World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organization, further testifies Pakistan’s vulnerability to extreme weather events. It ranks Pakistan at number five in the list of top 15 counties whose 80 percent of the total population is exposed to river flood risk.
WRI further highlights how Pakistan’s 0.98 and 9 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is getting affected by river flooding and environmental degradation respectively on average each year.
Malik Amin Aslam, Pakistani Federal Minister, and Adviser to Prime Minister said Pakistan was highly vulnerable to climate change. Due to its geopolitical and geographic placement. He said the current negotiations at COP 15 are going to determine the construct of the future scenarios of global climate change policy. Upon which Pakistan must align to avail itself to emerging opportunities. He said that Pakistan needs the immediate assistance of environment-friendly technology transfer, capacity building. Support in promoting the Clean Development Mechanism for mitigating climate change and financing to adapt in sectors of agriculture, water, and disasters.
Economist, Dr. Pervaiz Amir said Pakistan faced multiple threats and its unique front-line status puts it in a key position of a country with the threatened environment. The threats go beyond glacier melt in the Himalayas and Karakorum. It would also face serious consequences from sea level rise threatening Karachi, Thatta and Badin and the coastline. Key assets like Gwadar Port and the Coastal Highway would need extra protection. He said Pakistan needs to go all out in increasing its green cover by bringing new areas under plantation especially on farms. Improving forest cover and improving the management of the trees. Floods, drought sand storms are forecast with agriculture, water, energy, health as sectors requiring priority action.
Pakistan’s parliament has passed a climate change bill that officials promise “will fast-track measures needed to implement actions on the ground” in a country that has so far lagged on climate action.
The new law establishes a policy-making Climate Change Council, along with a Climate Change Authority to prepare and supervise the implementation of projects.
The legislation has received cautious backing from climate change experts. Who said, they welcome its potential but question, whether the government should instead be offering more direct support to provinces to implement environmental projects.
Pakistan has earlier passed measures to address climate change, but most have been little implemented critics charge.
Pakistan’s Senate passed the Climate Change Act 2016.
Pakistan’s former government, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, introduced a comprehensive National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) in 2013, but it languished under the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Upon coming to power in June 2013, Sharif’s government also downgraded the Ministry of Climate Change to a division. They slashed its budget by more than 60 percent. He later elevated its status back to a federal ministry ahead of the historic climate change conference in Paris in 2015.
Ministry of Environment, Government of Pakistan in collaborations with IUCN, International Union for Conservation and Natural Resources. Pakistan organized a press brief on the sidelines of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.
Pakistan’s vulnerabilities to Climate Change were highlighted by the speakers.
Dr. Arshad Muhammad Khan, Executive Director of the Global Change Impact studies Centre highlighted the impacts of climate change in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan’s concerns included increased variability of monsoon, receding of Himalayan glacier’s likely impact on Indus River system flows Decreases capacity of water reservoirs and extreme events including floods and droughts. He said that climate change would induce severe water stress. Pakistan will face food insecurity due to decreasing agricultural production. He also highlighted the degradation of ecosystems, biodiversity loss and saline water intrusion in the aquifers.
Pakistan was the first South Asian country with a dedicated Ministry of Climate Change (MOCC) in 2012 that successfully developed the National Climate Change Policy (NCCP). Followed by the Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy (2014-2030). The latter, complete with 735 suggested actions, including what are termed as 242 priority actions and 380 short-term actions, 108 medium-term and five long-term actions.