The Global Climate Risk Index has placed Pakistan on the fifth position in the list of countries most vulnerable to climate change in its annual report for 2020 released by the think-tank Germanwatch.
According to the report of Germanwatch, Pakistan lost 9,989 lives, suffered economic losses worth $3.8 billion and witnessed 152 extreme weather events from 1999 to 2018 and based on this data, the think-tank has concluded that Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change is increasing.
The data also indicates that the government, as well as the world, is not taking enough measures to cope with the challenges and risks that climate change poses to Pakistan, experts say.
According to the report, Pakistan is among the countries that are currently affected by catastrophes and continuously rank among the most affected countries both in the long-term index and in the index for the respective year”.
Apart from Pakistan, the countries on the list of the 10 countries most affected by climate change include Puerto Rico (1), Myanmar (2), Haiti (3), Philippines (4), Vietnam (6), Bangladesh (7), Thailand (8), Nepal (9) and Dominica (10).
One of the reasons for Pakistan to be continuously ranked high in the long-term index of the report is mainly due to its geographical location. According to David Eckstein, one of the co-authors of this report, “the entire region where Pakistan is located is prone to extreme weather events, in particular, heavy rainfalls e.g. during monsoon season, and floodings as a result.” Government should develop appropriate measures like projects, programmes and plans to protect the most vulnerable population.
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Khan, while commenting on Pakistan’s ranking in the 2020 report, said: “Our ranking over the long-term index went up from eight to fifth because the period used amplifies our most climate catastrophic events in 2010/2011 when the super floods hit.”
He explained in terms of economic costs at $3.8 million, we are number three over a 20-year period. What this means is that our economy is constantly at risk from climate catastrophes and this is not just an environmental challenge but an issue impacting our economy, human health, agriculture and ecosystem.