Muhammad Owais, Green Blogger

Progress is measured by the speed at which we destroy the conditions that sustain life “George Manbiot”

Climate change is the daunting challenge and poses different threats to Earth and living beings. Climate change is the reality of status quo. There are several vulnerabilities which may add fuel to intensify the process of climate change. According to Global Climate Risk Index 2020, there are 49500 people died as a result of more than 12000 extreme weather events and losses between 1999 and 2018 amounted to around US 3.54 trillion dollars. The key vulnerabilities of climate change are agriculture and economic sectors, health problems, population explosion and stress on energy sector. All these factors threaten socio-economic fabric of the world especially developing or underdeveloping countries.

Pakistan is the fifth largest country by population and population growth rate is 2.4%. If this trend goes same, Pakistan will have more than 300 million population before the mid of this century. Although education is the topmost priority of developed nation, developing or underdeveloping countries do not pay head to the educational policies. For instance, 60% of population do not have the basic understanding of climate change. Moreover, agriculture sector employs 45 percent Pakistan’s workforce and literacy rate is 60%. How uneducated workforce will be beneficial for helping to mitigate the climate change impacts.

Water resources is another key vulnerability of Climate change and Indus River is the life line for agriculture sector of Pakistan. Furthermore, rapidly rising temperature melts glacier with unprecedented level. It threats the water flood which caused thousand living beings and billion dollar loss. Pakistan per capita water availability, now about 1000 meter cubic is projected to decrease to 800 meter cube by 2025, transitioning it from a water-stressed to water scare country. In addition, water insecurity pose threat to the national interest of Pakistan and Pakistan has limited 30 days storage capacity which is not a good news for country.

Energy sector come under stress, due to rapidly rising population, to meet the demand of energy. Pakistan has relied on the fossil fuels to generate the electricity and hydropower generates 31 percent of Pakistan energy supply. On the other hand, Norway produces 96 percent electricity from hydropower. Pakistan should shift its policy from non-renewable to renewable energy resources which is the need of time.

Poverty is the worst challenge for developing countries and population explosion add fuel to the climate change process. It takes huge amount of national kitty and decline the economic growth and rise the national debt.  How a country Implement the international commitment i. e. Paris Agreement to meet the targets. As climate finance is the top agenda of Climate Summit 2020 to help the poorest countries to address loss and damage. There is a lack of resources in the global south ( developing or underdeveloping countries) to cope up with the climate change. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020 has reported that the number of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians have declined by almost seventy percent since 1970. It means climate change badly affect the growth of species which may disturb the food cycles and caused several problems.

Climate Risk is more dangerous than any other things. Climate change also threaten Pakistan’s already low health indicator (life expectancy, Maternal and child morality, malnutrition). The effects of high heat on health mostly manifest itself in cardiological and respiratory disease.

According to a report by World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the earth is suffering record heat waves for some years; 2016 being the hottest year, followed by 2019. In the summer of 2018, Europe has faced massive decline in agriculture productivity due to heatwaves. The intergovernmental panel on Climate Change(IPCC) stated that due to Climate change the frequency of heatwave has increased in large part of Europe, Asia and Australia. Furthermore, IPCC’s special report, the number of highly unusual hot days is projected to increase the most in tropics. Heatwaves were one major cause of damage in 2018. Germany, Japan and India were suffering from Heatwaves. Recent science has found a clear link between climate change and the frequency and security of extreme heat.

 Pakistan is among the list of single exceptional disasters and listed most affected countries. In Pakistan heat stroke  49 Centigrade caused more than hundred deaths in last several years in Karachi and Lahore. In addition, 21 million people are affected infectious disease outbreaks and diarrheal illness due to contaminated drinking water.

Lack of political will is the major reason behind the rapidly raising Climate Risks. President Donald Trump has violated international law very easily and drew out from the Paris Agreement and termed it as climate change is not a reality. As same goes in the national arena of Pakistan.

Pakistan is the 5th most vulnerable country to Climate Change. Advisor to PM on climate change Malik Amin Aslam Khan said, “our ranking over the long term index went up from eight to five because the period used amplifies our most climate catastrophic events in 2010/11 when the super floods hit”. In replied , Dr. Adil Najam, from Boston University blames the lack of action taken to combat climate change risk. There is a high time to take effective measures either at national or international level to meet the demands of Paris Agreement in real sense as well as finance the poor countries that may enable to mitigate the Climate Change risk. The key vulnerabilities are the alarming bell for human beings who should learn from it and make a fruitful educational policy to educate people at every level of life. The most important thing is that to allow the Ministry of Environment to work without political influence and ensure the finance which may need for the robust mitigating polices implementation. To conclude with the lines of Aden Meyer, an expert on international and domestic climate change policy. “we are sleepwalking towards climate catastrophe and need to wakeup and take urgent action”

About the Author: Muhammad Owais is employed in Education and Literacy Department, Government of Sindh. He is also a regular writer of Climate Act Magazine and educationist. He is a English Language Teacher and Mentor of Professional Subjects.