Climate Change: A Grave Environmental Question For Pakistan By Rahmat Tunio

One of the biggest threats in the world is the effects of climate change; people around the world are raising their voice to spread awareness about climate change. Last year, students in the United Kingdom started a movement on the question of climate change. Their major demand is to decrease the consumption of fossil fuels. Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio made a documentary on the threats the world is facing due to climate change. Even scientists have fallen in deep anxiety that if temperature did not stop soaring, death ratio would rise in the next decades. Humans cannot survive on this planet due to climate change.

Climate-changePakistan is located in the middle of South Asia and Middle East. Weather forecasts are that this region will be more affected by spike in temperatures. A severe heat wave continued during July in Sindh and other parts of the country. 51c temperature was recently recorded in Jacobabad. Northern areas of Balochistan witnessed 53c temperature. A week ago, Sindh experienced heavy rains. Rain brought in a pleasant weather, but major cities like Karachi and Hyderabad were badly affected.

Climate change has become a big problem globally and for Pakistan. According to a 2018 report of a German think tank, during the past 20 years, 10,462 deaths have been recorded annually due to climate change in Pakistan. During that period, financial losses were equivalent to about four billion dollars due to storm, flood and other natural disasters.

Mangrove trees defend against natural disasters. In 1945, there were four hundred thousand hectares of mangroves, but unfortunately, only seventy thousand hectares are left by now. Due to water shortage in the River Indus, the Arabian Sea has swallowed thousands of acres of land and mangrove trees.

In 2015,we experienced a dangerous heat wave in Karachi. More than one thousand people died; in 2018, 65 people died. The prevailing environmental conditions are not just limited to Pakistan but many European and other Asian countries are also facing rising temperatures. According to India’s disaster management officials, at least 36 people died this summer because of heat waves. Temperature exceeded to 48 degree Celsius. The World Health Organisation reports that heat stress is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year, between 2030 and 2050worldwide.France, Germany, Belgium and other European countries saw temperatures reach 40 degree Celsius.

According to a 2018 report of a German think tank, during the past 20 years, 10,462 deaths have been recorded annually due to climate change in Pakistan

In Pakistan, the report of the Global Impact Study Centre warns that temperature has exceeded more in Pakistan as compared to other countries. Adverse effects of climate change have decreased crops productivity and agricultural yields. Production of wheat and rice would be drastically decreased, 12 to 22 percentage, by the end of this century.

Recently, Zartaj Gul, Minister of State for Climate Change, showed some shocking facts of effects of climate change in Pakistan. She said that Pakistan faces several dangers of climate change. Increasing cyclones, flood and sea level are affecting coastal areas badly.

According to the Global Climate Change Risk Index 2018, “Pakistan has become the seventh most vulnerable country affected by climate change.” Experts show their deep concerns over weather incidents that happened in the past two decades. A large number of population, crops, and animals are affected due to freak weather incidents like flash floods, smog, forest fires and melting glaciers. Water scarcity has emerged as a big problem all over the country.

The major causes behind the exacerbating climate change are greenhouse effects, burning of fossil fuels, industrialisation and deforestation. In forests, acres of trees are chopped off for business purposes despite the knowledge that trees are very important for the environment. Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2). By deforestation and use of fossil fuels, we incur the adverse effects of climate change. Industrialisation has ruined the ecosystem; this sector contributes a lot in the emission of greenhouse gases, and adds CO2 in atmosphere. As a result, clean air is polluted.

It is time to take initiatives to control fossil fuels and industrialisation, scientists warn. If necessary steps are not taken immediately to combat climate change, food and water scarcity will be on high, and floods and storms will destroy all of us, including animals.

Tackling the climate change is a huge and a difficult problem but not impossible. In the Paris Agreement 2015, Pakistan has also set a target to lessen greenhouse gases emission to 30 percent. We have to sketch a master plan: usage of renewable energy sources and reducing the use of fossil fuels and poisonous gas emissions. There is also a dire need to ban deforestation and to plant more trees. It is high time that political parties, students and citizens began an awareness campaign about climate change. If we don’t take it seriously, planet earth will not be a place where anyone survives.

The writer is a freelancer


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