Climate Crisis in Pakistan

Climate change in Pakistan is expected to cause wide-ranging effects on the environment and people in Pakistan. As a result of ongoing climate change, the climate of Pakistan has become increasingly volatile over the past several decades; this trend is expected to continue in the future. In addition to increased heat, drought, and extreme weather conditions in some parts of the country, the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas threatens many of the most important rivers of Pakistan. Between 1999 and 2018, Pakistan has ranked the 5th worst affected country in terms of extreme climate caused by climate change. 2010 Pakistan floods were the floods that were likely to be caused or worsened by climate change.

Pakistan contributes little to Global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions, yet it is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Pakistan's lower technical and financial capacity to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change worsened its vulnerability. Food and water security, as well as large displacement of populations are major threats faced by the country. Pakistan's agriculture-dependent economy is especially susceptible to increasing irregularity and uncertainty over climatic conditions. Like many other South Asian nations, Pakistan is faced by high risk due to climate change effects.

General future projections for Pakistan are expected to be that Pakistan’s projected temperature increase is expected to be higher than the global average; the frequency of hot days and hot nights is expected to increase significantly; major crop yields such as of wheat and rice are expected to decrease significantly; water availability per capita is projected to decrease to an alarming level.

Mitigation and Solutions to Tackle Climate Crisis in Pakistan

The most important targets for mitigation efforts focused on reduction of GHG emissions are the energy and agriculture sectors. In the energy sector, integration of climate change and energy policy objectives is particularly important as today's investment such as in the Thar coalfield will “lock in” the infrastructure, fuel and technologies to be used for decades to come. Similarly, the building and transport infrastructure put in place today should meet the design needs of the future. Therefore, energy efficiency requirements in building codes and long-term transport planning will prove important.

Policies and legislations

The National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) of 2012, framed by the Government of Pakistan as the guiding policy document for the country on climate change, acknowledges the growing risk of future extreme natural hazards due to climate change. It further provides a picture of the vulnerabilities faced by individual sectors, ecological regions and socio-economic classes.

Ministry of Climate Change

Various programs focused on adaptation and mitigation have been developed within the Pakistani government. Since 2017, a cabinet-level ministry has led much of that capacity. The Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) is a cabinet-level ministry of the Government of Pakistan concerned with climate change in Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the Clean Green Pakistan Movement on 8 October 2018 to help create a clean and green environment of Pakistan. The annual budget for the year 2018-2019 is 802.69 million rupees according to the PSDP Report. When coming into power, Prime Minister Imran Khan also launched the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami which aims at planting trees across the nation in a span of five years in hopes of reversing decades of deforestation.

About the Author: Wardah Razzaq is a graduate of environment from University of the Punjab, Lahore. She is an environmentalist by profession and by passion. She is also an environment and climate change activist, climate reality leader, sustainable development goals advocate (ambassador of sustainability), green blogger and member of eco-club Pakistan. She is envisioned, determined and committed at raising awareness among the general public regarding various environmental issues, their impacts and solutions and that how they can become the responsible citizens of Pakistan eco-friendly. She loves to write on nature, environment climate and sustainable development.