By Sobia Kazim
It is until only a few years back that many of us were living in a state of denial when it came to dreadful impacts of climate change. This phenomenon is mainly induced by an incompatible lifestyle pattern to natural ecology. The problem has been aggravated by ill-conceived industrial development that involves irresponsible practices. Unfortunately, despite all the serious threats that climate change has posed, it has been ignored by most of the governments previously.
Well now the climate change has greatly endangered the lives of millions of people around the world, and the countries that lack better preparedness are getting more prone to face disaster. However, we cannot say that the developed and better-prepared countries have nothing to worry about. As the temperature will go higher which has already been predicted, sea level will rise as its eventuality. The anticipated projection of sea level rise says that Miami Beach would possibly reach up to 6 feet of sea level till the end of this century.
In contrast, African people (between75 to 250 million) will be exposed to increased water stress by 2020 while this situation can result in no water or very less water in Africa by 2028. Conversely, in few parts of Africa, the sea level will see a rise due to climate change. It would result in flood following-on serious losses of lives, reduction of crop production, inflation and sickness.
The situation in Asia is not different where Maldives’ shoreline is already changing due to climate change. As it is a lowest-lying Island and is sadly expected to face the worse brunt of the situation first. As it is projected, if the sea level keeps rising, Maldives is feared to be vanishing from the face of the earth by 2085. Nevertheless, due to this drastic climate change, the average temperature is increasing and if on the trend persists; there will be an unprecedented temperature increase in coming 40 years.
To mitigate the situation, some of the governments are trying to fight back this manmade disaster by planning to build seawalls and undersea gates. Hence, it’s feared that the climate change will affect poor states and people worse than the developed and rich ones.
Carbon emissions of one country will adversely affect both; the country responsible for emission and the neighborhood. That’s why it is often argued by developing nations that since most of the carbon emissions are coming from developed countries, therefore it’s their responsibility to contribute to mitigation plans.
The stance of Pakistani government on climate change is quite depressing. There are several threats and warnings about the future scenario but serious action to redress this issue is lacking. Increasing temperature, melting glaciers, extreme weather changes and noticeable variability of monsoon is the clear indication of climatic variation which may rather result in food shortage and water stress.
Pakistan is a country that is extremely vulnerable to climate change; rise in global temperatures and the irregular weather patterns could wreak havoc on most of the population. Even the recent waves of destructive floods bear testament to the fact that the poor in Pakistan have the most to lose because of climate change. Heat waves already have shown its effects both in cities and villages; large scores of deaths are counted due to the unforgiving heat last year.
The adaptation of climate change has special significance for a country like Pakistan, as per a large number of its population is depending on agriculture mainly. The researchers have warned that the production of wheat, rice, and maize may cut by 16% till 2050.
Though we can see a late realization on the part of the government, it’s encouraging that a fiveyear program has been planned in which 105 million trees will be planted across the country. An earmarking of Rs. 10 billion is a positive development however it could be termed a step in right direction but a lot more still has to be done in this regard.
Keeping in view the dynamics of the issue, climate change should not be overlooked in Pakistan. Although there are other pressing issues that need the country’s resources, yet they must not be used as a pretense to relegate the issue of global warming. To make global warming and climate a priority, the state should develop strategies on a wide scale followed by awareness campaigns. We must not forget the reports revealing that a severe water shortage in biggest cities along with worse food shortage is a looming threat that needs concrete actions at every level to avert the crisis.
*The writer can be reached at [email protected]