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Friday, July 19, 2024

The unaffordable price of climate change in Pakistan

The recent flood catastrophes and mega-storms are inevitable and they may occur as regularly as every decade or twice every decade or more. Disasters of this magnitude will undoubtedly cause significant damage to infrastructure, economic upheaval, and human misery, which Pakistan simply cannot afford.

Pakistan is unfairly suffering the effects of other countries’ careless environmental actions. Previously, Pakistan was ranked 8th in terms of vulnerability to climate change, and as of 2022, the country ranks fifth in the world according to the German Watch report and the Global Climate Risk Index. According to recent data, more than 30 million individuals have been compelled to migrate from one place to another in Pakistan due to the environment over the past ten years, including the loss of more than 100,000 lives in flood disasters. Probably, global warming may weaken numerous developing countries to the point unable to take effective action.

The recent flood catastrophes and mega-storms are inevitable and they may occur as regularly as every decade or twice every decade or more. Disasters of this magnitude will undoubtedly cause significant damage to infrastructure, economic upheaval, and human misery, which Pakistan simply cannot afford. The main aim of this article is to address the fact that a country like Pakistan, despite making a tiny contribution to global carbon emissions, has to suffer the worst effects of climate change.

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Understanding the matter better

Industrialized countries will need to extract carbon dioxide from the air directly in order to balance the temperature and maintain a moderate atmosphere. The world’s current climate changes are the result of aggressively pursued industrialization-led, energy-intensive economic growth in economically developed states, which has resulted in dangerously high concentrations of carbon emissions with global climate repercussions. Knowing the global distribution of carbon emissions is perhaps the best way to comprehend how badly this historically crafted present carbon disparity is affecting Pakistan in one way or another, like agriculture impacts, early growing of different agriculture products, seasonal climate change harvesting, droughts, and heavy rainfall.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has recorded a 385 percent increase in rainfall in Sindh and a 371 percent increase in rainfall in Balochistan so far this summer. Pakistan’s weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable. This year, for example, the country essentially transitioned from winter to the sweltering summer heat, which can reach temperatures of up to 50°C in several parts of Pakistan and is now occurring more frequently for weeks at a time. Climate disruption has terrible national impacts in developing nations, including interstate conflict, terrorism, cyberattacks, fiscal crises, high unemployment, and severe social instability.

The extreme severity and destruction of the flooding are solely due to global warming. The obvious link between the occurrence and duration of such catastrophic weather events and the warming atmosphere should not be ignored by industrialized countries in terms of carbon emissions and the impact of climate change on developing countries. The rate of ocean warming is at a level not seen in the past three decades. The temperature has barely changed. Additionally, changes are not limited to the monsoon’s behavior but more severe impacts are still unexperienced by countries vulnerable to climate change.

A record-breaking heatwave is currently affecting almost a billion people’s daily lives in Pakistan. Wheat harvests are being harmed by the extreme heat, which also prevents many workers from working outside and puts individuals at risk for major health problems and even death. Pakistan and other countries most at risk from climate disruption were also the most dysfunctional, and they blamed Pakistan’s monsoon-related flooding in 2010 and 2022 on altered natural drainage patterns due to changes in land usage in the country. One of the major reasons for the impacts of sudden floods in developing countries like Pakistan is corruption. The construction of bridges, and highways, violations of building code regulations, and construction of rain paths, rebuilding in floodplains have contributed to the country’s vulnerability, as experienced earlier in previous floods.

Read more: Migration, climate change and economic disaster in Pakistan

Government authorities responsible for combating climate change will have to spend a lot of money learning what their future development goals should be after the floods, loss of life and property. In addition, a significant amount of effort will need to be made to inform the populace at the local level on how they might adapt to the changing climate. There are a few important areas where the government may help by bringing climate and environmental specialists and researchers together for the purpose of identifying future developing communities and planting crops, how to safeguard people and livestock, and how to withstand a natural disaster.

Furthermore, rehabilitation and new building infrastructure activity must have climate change resilience. Furthermore, stopping the logging of trees and afforestation is one of the primary options for Pakistan to combat future climate change. Governments will in fact need more land for solar farms and tree plantations to prevent it from being used to produce food for a growing global population. Hence, agricultural intensity must increase where there are fewer chances of floods.

However, foreign aid does not always effectively contribute to the efficient distribution of funds to the most deserving regions affected by floods. International donors and loan providers must recognize that the post-flood 2022 economic impact on Pakistan is severe and postpone the debt payments that have already been scheduled. Industrialized Countries have to contribute enough money to help developing countries combat climate change’s long-term impacts. Pakistan must make more aggressive adaptation efforts establishing a worldwide adaptation goal, figuring out how to track advancement, and providing suitable, high-quality funding to assist adaptation and rehabilitation.



Mujeeb-ur-Rehman is a research fellow at Balochistan Think Tank Network. The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Village Space’s editorial policy