CLIMATE CHANGE IN PAKISTAN AND ITS IMPACTS
The climate in Pakistan has been changed since the last decade The climate change has affected the seasonal variation of temperature. The duration of summer has been increased causing the change in weather conditions i.e. severe heat stroke, ice melting of glaciers leading to increased sea level and drought conditions. In between 1999 and 2008, Pakistan was ranked the fifth-worst affected country regarding severe climate change.
The main reason for climate change is greenhouse gases which are released from refrigerators and air conditioners. Water and food security has become major threats in the country due to climate change. It is because Pakistan is an agricultural country and its economy depends upon agriculture. Due to climate change, irregularity, and uncertainty about crop production as they require a specific limit of optimum temperature. The increase in temperature is causing decreased crop production which is ultimately causing threats to Pakistan’s economy.
Climate change is majorly observed in;
- Water availability periods
- The intensity of heat strokes
- Precipitation and raining
- Water induced natural disasters
Climate change has increased monsoon raining causing severe flooding and droughts.
IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
- Impact on the natural environment
- Impact on agriculture
- Impact on economy
IMPACT ON NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
The natural environment has been affected severely due to cli8mate change. It has disrupted environmental processes and human activities. It has affected the productivity and efficiency of agriculture and water resources. Increased temperature conditions have increased sea and atmospheric conditions. Pakistan reported more than 50 severe weather disasters from 1998 to 2020.
According to the Nation Institute of Oceanography Pakistan, the sea level has risen 3.2mm per year from 1993 to 2010 due thermal explosion of oceans and ice melting of glaciers. Climate change has caused the following changes to the natural environment;
- Declined drinking water quality
- Degradation of mangrove forest
- 80% reduction in the number of river sediments
- Submerging of low lying coastal areas
- The rise in sea level
- Loss of habitats for fish, birds, wildlife, and plants
- Erosion of coastal regions
The water availability has decreased to an alarming situation.
IMPACT ON AGRICULTURE
The crop yield of wheat and rice are expected to decrease in the future due to harsh temperature conditions. Crops grown in irrigated areas and under spate farming systems are highly sensitive to water availability and temperature variability. The temperature rise will decrease agricultural productivity by around 8%–10% by 2040.
Wheat crop is much affected by agronomic and socioeconomic factors such as water availability, weather changes, and exposure to other extreme events because of this, production of wheat will decrease to 6% by the year 2080.
IMPACT ON ECONOMY
Pakistan is an agricultural country. Its 70% economy depends upon agriculture. Due to environmental and weather changes, the productivity of crops is decreasing day by day which is ultimately lowering the Pakistan economy.
- Government policies
- Ministry of climate
Pakistan has forests in less than 5% area while a country must have forests on 25% of its total area. Forests are climate changers. They decrease the intensity of heat and increase the humidity content of the atmosphere. Therefore reforestation must be promoted in Pakistan and serious action should be taken against the cutting of forests.
- In 2018, the government of Pakistan initiated Plant for Pakistan program and pursued 10 billion trees.
- During COVID-19, the government of Pakistan continued reforestation program planning and employed a lot of jobless people.
The National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) of 2012, framed the following risks due to the increased risk of future extreme natural hazards due to climate change.
The major climate change threats identified in the report are listed below;
- Intense floods due to siltation of major dams
- Increase in intensity of weather events and disasters
- Threat to coastal areas due to increased sea level
- Increased salinity level of water affecting coastal agriculture
- Increased health risks
- Migration due to climate changes
- Enhanced water stress conditions in an arid and semi-arid region
- Reduced crop productivity due to enhanced heat
- Decrease in forest cover
- Increased stress of water resources between lower and upper riparian regions
MINISTRY OF CLIMATE
In 2012, a national policy was formulated by the Ministry of Climate Change for Pakistan to make it a climate change the resilient country and different areas were outlined in this policy. Concurrently, different international and national initiatives are consistently being executed to enhance awareness of the recurrent effects of climate change. The organization aims to contribute towards analyzing the effect of climate change on different aspects of national food security and suggest a way forward for Pakistan.
Climate changes in Pakistan are increasing day by day which needs to be overcome by the both public and government. The public needs to decrease the use of air conditioners, refrigerators, and other technological devices which can increase the concentration of greenhouse gases. The increased concentration of greenhouse gases is causing thinning of the ozone layer. The thinning of the ozone layer allows ultraviolet rays to pass from the sun to earth and ultimately global warming is increasing day by day. It needs to be controlled by precautions. If the climate keeps changing due to human activities, in the future it will be quite difficult to live on this hot earth.
In a survey, the majority of the Pakistani people claimed that climate change is affecting their lives in the form of droughts and floods, and most importantly it is affecting the availability of resources such as energy, food, and water. About 53% of Pakistanis claimed that their lives had become worse off than they were five years ago in the past. Climate changes can only be controlled through proper discipline and reforestation.