CLIMATE change is a phenomenon that has swirled across the globe. It is commonly defined as variation in climate patterns either large or small scale.
The frequent devastations caused due to climate change at large have left avowed enigma for scientists and stakeholders to find out solution for challenges hurled due to climate change. It is believed that more than 90% of the natural disasters in recent time have been triggered by climate change. This situation is scarily dismal and requires immediate actions to cope with.
The deforestation, extinction of biodiversity, coastal flooding, extreme weather, droughts, and economic downturn are some of the major challenges world faces due to abrupt climate change. The phenomenon of climate change also has direct impacts on food and water security. Climate change driven devastation events can never be forecasted precisely and occur at an uncertain rate.
Human intervention is the foremost attributed cause of climate change that includes use of fossil fuel that ultimately causes depletion of ozone layer by adding to Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in atmosphere, incompatible infrastructure development, industrial waste etc. Scientists and the stakeholders are intensely vexed about the scenario and are endeavoring to curtail the climate change impacts by remodeling the policies, life styles and daily life practices at various levels. Global temperatures have risen up to 0.6% since 1900. Furthermore, world has confronted extreme events with enhanced frequencies since 1950. GHG emission in climate due to burning of fossil fuel has the major share in contributing to the global warming that is the main driving force behind climate change.
Pakistan only contributes a paltry 0.5% of the global GHG emission in atmosphere but still it ranks 10th in list of most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world. Due to uncertain climate change phenomenon, Pakistan has already paid hefty penalties in form of irremediable losses in near past. Most understandable reasons are that Pakistan lies at glacier melting zone and is fallible to climate change. Its inclined topography immediately affects the southern part if any incident happens in the northern part of the country; incompatibility of infrastructure development with the climate is also a major cause of dilated devastations that is usually witnessed during natural disasters. The recent examples of such accidents in Pakistan caused by climate change include the devastating flood in late July, 2010, that resulted from heavy monsoon rains in the all provinces of Pakistan, which massively thwarted the Indus River basin. The studies suggest that 1/5th of Pakistans total land area was invaded by flood. The official data gives somber picture of 20 million affected people who lost their properties, livelihood resources. The mortality rate touched a mammoth 2,000 figure. Moving further, avalanches struck military camp in Gayari sector causing 160 causalities of soldiers in April, 2012. Sindh drought in year 2014 was also one of the dreadful incidents Pakistan had to face.
In order to address this global concern, options are certainly there but actions at an optimum level are lacking. Climate resilient policies must be mulled over and their execution must be ensured by the government so to mitigate the threshold of climate change impacts in Pakistan and protect the future generations from its implications.
The challenges can be converted into opportunities. Green revolution could be a stride forward in this regard by encouraging entrepreneurs to launch climate friendly innovative products. Environment friendly power generation sources such as wind, solar, nuclear should be preferred to lessen the dependence on furnace and fossil fuel oil. It is also noticed that in Pakistan, annual economic cost of rangeland degradation and deforestation comes close to Rs. 6 billion which leave irremovable traces of fret on countrys economy. Furthermore, forest areas could be increased area wise as well as density wise. Tree plantation is the most viable and convenient exercise in this regard.
Federal Government of Pakistan has already set forth a stringent target to increase forest area from current 5% of the total landmass of the country to at least 12% within next few years which is genuinely a beacon of encouragement. Infrastructure should be developed in accordance to climate change so to ensure sustainable development unlikely to present situation where 60% losses occur due to non compatibility of infrastructure with climate change and its non sustainability; by doing so management costs of the infrastructure could be reduced substantially. Federal Ministry of Climate Change has recently been assured by the support from all provincial governments in order to act on first ever Climate Change Policy of Pakistan. These steps are certainly a sliver lining in present dismal circumstances.
To sum up, a holistic approach to devise climate resilient policies that account for a combination of adaptation and substantial reduction of CO2 emissions are the answer to the conundrum pertaining to climate change impacts and thus increasing Pakistans mettle to cope with the hovering cumbersome vulnerability to climate change. The awareness campaigns, environmental protection laws, and policy revisions at state level have to be adopted in accordance with the international formulations and regulations so to minimize the adverse impacts of climate change and protect future generations.
The author is associated with Technology Times as Editorial Assistant. He can be reached at email@example.com