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Effects of Climate Change on Pakistan

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Developing countries paying price for Developed Countries in terms of Climate Change

By Aryan Khan

Most of the recent studies show that climate change impacts both the natural world and the people. Climate change is responsible for the rise in the earth’s average temperature, changes in the rain patterns, making the rays of the sun stronger, and the occurrence of extreme weather. Which directly affects human health, food, forests, agriculture, and land. Moreover, the studies also show that more than 971 million people live in such places which are more vulnerable and are at high climate change risks. Climate change has adversely impacted almost all parts of the world but the South Asian countries are hardest hit as compared to other regions of the world.

Over 971 million people live in such places which are more vulnerable and are at high climate change risks

Pakistan is consistently ranking among the top 10 countries on the climate risk index for the past 20 years. Climate change has posed serious threats to the health, natural resources, and economy of the country. Food insecurity, water scarcity, heat waves, melting glaciers, irregular monsoon patterns combined with windstorms, and hailing have further worsened the situation. The country has faced around 180 extreme weather events resulting in more than 12000 fatalities, and around 3 million livestock damages in the last two decades. More than 33 million people have been affected by the previous year’s floods in July out of which 8 million people have been displaced, more than 1700 human life lost, 1.8 million livestock died, and economic losses were estimated around USD 30 billion. Rehabilitation and reconstruction estimates are more than USD 16 billion. The World Health Organization in its reports revealed that in the recent flooding which hit the southern Sindh and Southern Baluchistan Province, more than 105 of the health facilities in the area are damaged which resulted in the deprivation of millions of people for accessing health care.

The planning, development, and special initiatives ministry initiated a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), which was conducted jointly with the collaboration of the European Union, the Asian Development Bank, and the agencies of the United Nations while the technical facilities were provided by the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Reconstruction and rehabilitation work is believed to be based on transparency, participation, inclusiveness, and greener recovery for achieving long-lasting resilience which implies bitterly building the back, pro-vulnerable, pro-poor, gender-sensitive, and targeting those who are affected the most. The most vulnerable and poorest districts have been affected by floods. Vector-born and water-borne diseases are caused by stagnant water. Furthermore, this tragedy and crisis have many long-lasting and profound impacts. Such as the shrinkage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a direct adverse impact of the floods which was presented to be approximately 2.2 percent of the Fiscal Year 22 GDP.

For the reduction of poverty and economic security, Pakistan needs to devote significant investments to the achievement of climate resilience. This country needs major changes regarding policies and path of development, which requires investing in people-centric initiatives for climate resilience and adaptations that needs international support. The economy is protected from shocks and making more inclusive and sustainable growth in Pakistan by accelerating the actions regarding climate change. Major transitions are required in the country on a priority basis for improving climate change adaptation and reduction in the high costs associated with it such as transformation in the food and agriculture system, construction of liveable and resilient cities, fast-track transition towards greener and sustainable energy and green transportation, promotion of human capital investments towards the achievement of sustainable climate resilience and equitable development. Moreover, the financial policies, instructions, and incentives need alignment such that it results in supporting to scale-up and acceleration of climate actions. Pakistan is not considered one of the major contributors to global warming but the carbon emission growth trajectory is high due to the use of fossil fuels. It is also considered as a source of increasing air pollution and fiscal stress. The mitigation and adaptations are both benefited by the climate actions and they also contribute towards improving the outcomes of the development having the highest priority.

Pakistani officials narrated at the climate conference of the United Nations in Egypt that although Pakistan is producing less than 1% of the greenhouse gas global emission. However, it is enlisted among the top 10 countries which are vulnerable to disasters caused by global climate change. Following the fact at the COP27 conference in Egypt, the negotiators agreed to the establishment of a “Fund for loss and damage” for paying the developing nations for climate change catastrophic consequences. Moreover, Pakistan pushed the G77 countries, a group of developing countries to claim compensation regarding the consequences of climate change from the wealthy nations which are considered as the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

The loss and damage fund has to be operationalized as yet. The financing is expected to come for the reconstruction and rehabilitation by Pakistan from the industrialized countries and global financial institutions such as the multilateral development banks and International Monetary Fund. The compensations are expected to be in the form of write-offs of the debts, restructuring and swaps, allocation of special drawing rights, or channelizing the developing countries and providing direct support for the reconstruction projects. Pakistan is also expecting an expression of solidarity from the allies and friends from the global South and Islamic world.

$9 billion pledges were made by different countries and donors for flood recovery in JanuaRY this year but it has not been received so far

The prime minister elaborated in a statement on the World Environmental Day while speaking in a gathering that the richest countries of the world have not done enough to combat global warming and its impacts. He added that Pakistan has done more than any other nation relative to its financial and economic means for combating the rise in the emission.

Increasing global temperature is a matter of serious concern to combat climate change effects.

The writer is student of BS Journalism, semester 8 at School of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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