Fighting the climate change

ENVIRONMENT DEGRADATION has gained a phenomenal importance across the world, especially for making the third world countries including Pakistan feel concerned about this critical issue, which is potentially impacting the agriculture and economy. Pakistani climate change advocates say they fear for the future as there is not enough money to pay for the countrys $13 billion to $32 billion in annual climate change needs. Moreover, many question whether a state grappling with extremism and sectarian violence, and still struggling to provide its citizens clean drinking water and reliable electricity, is truly capable of tackling long-term environmental threats. According to a fresh report, the climate change could cost Pakistans economy up to $14 billion per year, which is too difficult for the cash-starved government in Islamabad to bear. While on the other hand, the constant melting of glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram Himalaya mountain range, which provides water for 90 per cent of the countrys crops, are causing devastating flash floods and disrupting water supplies. This also triggers the concerns that the average temperature in Pakistan has risen by 0.57 degree Celsius and the country has faced 141 extreme weather events – including a 2010 deluge that displaced 20 million people. The country also is facing an alarmingly high population growth rate, the highest in the world, at around 2.03 per cent. Poverty is widespread, predominantly in rural areas, and migration to urban areas is at an all-time high. All this negative situation raises a major point to ponder over is how would Pakistan be in a position to come up with an effective environment policy to overcome this climate change in shape of floods, land erosion, change in annual weather cycle, low per acre yields, droughts, deforestation, dangers to wildlife, etc. The government has recently announced a boost in funding to the Global Change Impact Studies Centre, a research entity to help the water, agriculture and forestry sectors become more resilient to climate change. We aspire to see this Centre lead research for South Asia. However, this initiative should not be confined to this only as the government needs to develop its own domestic fund so that Pakistan is not entirely reliant on global efforts like the still-developing Green Climate Fund, which is supposed to deliver about $100 billion in climate aid by 2020 but for now remains empty. We are behind the curve right now, but we will have to make progress. We should not sit quiet as we are so much threatened, but we have to survive. Confronting the climate change issue with a well drafted policy based on commitment. Otherwise, our economic as well as agriculture development will be much more impaired.

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