THE CLIMATE change has been responsible for floods, extreme weather, earthquakes, rise of sea levels, increase in crop pests, diseases and for some other catastrophes. The issue of global warming can slow down the pace of development especially in developing countries. This challenge is even bigger for the third world nations including Pakistan. The countrys vulnerability to such adverse impacts is likely to increase considerably in the coming decades.
These views were expressed by speakers at the three-day conference “International Conference on Plants, People and Climate 2013″recently organised by the Federal Urdu University Karachi in collaboration with Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST) and five other departments of NUST.
Addressing on the occasion, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid, who was the chief guest, said that if the global warming continues in the next few years, they will face more natural disasters.
He said that glaciers in Pakistan are continuously melting mainly due to the constantly rising temperature in the region, and by the year 2035, the country will no longer have water reserves in the shape of glaciers, which would definitely lead to ruination of agriculture, its related industries and putting the human survival in the region at stake. As a contributing factor Pakistan is releasing 0.34 per cent of green house gases which are responsible for global warming. However, it is the eighth most vulnerable country facing climate changes.
“About 23 per cent people in Pakistan are at a risk of floods. The glaciers will melt in the next two to three decades and after that, we will face an acute water shortage due to which the risk of food scarcity will increase,” said Secretary Climate Change Division Raja Hasan Abbas while addressing the audience.
Chief organizer of the event Dr. Moinuddin Ahmed, who had done an extensive research on climate change, dispelled the common impression that glaciers melting and reducing in size due to the rising temperature. In fact, he explained, it was the excessive snowfall on mountains that melts in summer and contributes to floods in the country.
He also said that this conference has brought national and international experts working on climate change issues on one platform and exchange their research work.
While speaking on the occasion, Secretary Science and Technology, Kamran Ali Qureshi, said that water is important for life and there is a dire need for research to face the effects of climate changes.
“We have to save our water resources because there will be no life without them,” he maintained.
“NUST has provided a platform for such conferences and we hope that they will recommend the solution to global warming,” he said.
It also said that the developing countries including were the least responsible for climate change contributing only 10 per cent of annual global carbon dioxide emissions. But they are the ones most vulnerable to the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change.
Another report from the World Bank has warned Pakistan of the existence of five major risks related to climate change, rise in sea level, glacial retreats, floods, higher average temperature and higher frequency of droughts.
PCST Chairperson Prof. Dr Mudassir Asrar highlighted the efforts of her organisation in bringing the issue of global warming and climate change on the forefront. She said it was the second international conference which organised on this important issue.
She mentioned that purpose of the conference was to collaborate with international universities, organizations, NGO and professionals, providing a platform for national students, researchers and industrial experts, in the field of plant ecology and climate change.