Need to tackle climate change impacts

Negative impacts of climate change and degrading environment have emerged as a burning issue for the third world countries especially Pakistan. Estimates show that climate change is inflicting billions of dollars of accumulative annual losses on Pakistan in different shapes. The countrys geographical location, high levels of pollution, low technological and resource base, high internal variability, changing rainfall pattern and extreme weather changes have contributed to the climate change intensity leading to floods, droughts, cyclones and landslides. It is highly painful to note that almost 95 per cent of climate change and environment degradation is due to human activities. Regular deforestation, industrial wastes mixing with irrigation water, excessive use of non-perishable shopping bags, garbage dumping in main drains in urban areas, industrial units in urban areas, smoke-emitting vehicles, etc. are the regular contributors to the environment degradation. Forests in the country are decreasing rapidly at an alarming rate of between 0.2 and 0.4 per cent per annum thus triggering soil erosion and subsequent floods. While on the other side, agriculture has emerged as a direct victim to the climate change in shape of declining level of per acre yield as well as quality. Food security is now a new phenomena, and this issue may convert into a major crisis if tangible and timely steps are not taken. One group of environmentalists is of the view that the government needs to do latest research on the issue as Pakistan is ranked amongst the countries highly vulnerable to the climate change phenomena. That could be a positive approach as it would enable decision makers to devise a fresh strategy to tackle this issue. But at the implementation stage this approach falls flat. Rules and regulations are there, but one fails to find any seriousness at any stage regarding implementation of these laws. The relevant authorities must display their seriousness towards this critical issue. Now the time is ripe for all the stakeholders to address the issues related to climate change on an urgent basis, especially keeping in mind how the country has been affected by them in recent times. For this it is vital to acquire an accurate understanding of climate change and its causes and impacts. It is indisputable that studying climate changes should be an important priority, but to advance our knowledge and awareness of these critical issues requires scientific rigour which is still non-existing at any level in the country.

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