By Rubab Zahra Malik
El Nino is a phenomenon in which the temperature of water in eastern Tropical Ocean rises way too higher than usual. This increased temperature in the oceans has serious repercussions for the world, including Pakistan.
In 2015, it was announced that the temperature of the earth is expected to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned the world. Following the announcement, an International treaty was signed in Paris to fight climate change. The agreement called Paris accord was intended to reduce the effects of global warming to as minimum as possible and not let it exceed the threshold of 2 degrees Celsius.
Although United Nations was quite serious about this, however, rest of the world didn’t pay much attention to this, including us. At that time in Pakistan, we were busy with the tug of war between PTI and PMLN (technically we still are). That was our time to listen to this warning and build dams. Economy was also doing much better in that era than what it is today. Funds could be kept aside for these projects.
However, we didn’t. Honestly speaking, the warning by WMO at that time didn’t seem so scary either. Such a change in earth’s climate was not likely to happen anytime soon. Also 1.5 degrees Celsius was not a big deal.
Years passed by. La Nina began to take place in 2020. (La Nina is the opposite of El Nino. It is a cooling phenomenon.) We thought Mother Nature was healing the climate. A cooling effect was being expected. What we didn’t notice was the unusually long duration of La Nina. The phenomenon started in September 2020.
Since we were already recovering from the pandemic of Corona, we didn’t pay much attention. It was all about to change. In the summer of 2021, temperature of the earth rose significantly raising the concerns on climate change. Different regions of the world began to witness severe heat waves. Parts of UK which are significantly colder witnessed the temperature of 40 degrees for the first time.
Global warming shook the world and we realized how an increase in 1.5 degree Celsius can melt us. For us, heat waves were not the only problem.
Global warming raised the level of water in Indian ocean resulting in heavy rainfall. We have some glaciers in Gilgit Baltistan. Due to heat wave, they began to melt as well. Our neighbor India had built a lot of dams, so it remained safe. Meanwhile we had built nothing of this sort to stop the flow of water. In June 2022, massive floods hit different parts of Pakistan causing an estimated damage of 15 billion dollars to economy. One third of the country plunged in water. Over 8 million were displaced.
More than 1700 people died. And we were told that this is only going to get worse. There will be more floods in the coming years. This was our May Day call. Any sincere government would be constructing dams on the emergency basis. Sincere government! Cut to 2023, El Nino is on its way, which means we have not much time left.
For rich countries, El Nino will only bring heat. But for countries like us, it will bring food security, water shortage, floods along with heat strokes. Although rich countries have a noteworthy share in this soaring global warming, they are still not going to be affected like we will be.