Pakistan is a front-line state which is directly facing adverse effects of climate change for the past 100 years and has lost precious lives, livelihood and infrastructure.
Since Pakistan is below Himalayas and above the Arabian Sea, the main concern is unprecedented devastating floods. Pakistan is also effected by rising temperatures, melting glaciers, earthquakes, landslides, cyclones, drought and related threats to water quality and water supply. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, Dalai Lama said “Climate change is a problem which human beings created” and all of humanity is now responsible for taking action.
Climate change is a change in the usual weather found in a place, which can be global or regional. It is largely caused by the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by use of fossil fuels across the globe (from the burning of oil, coal, gas), deforestation and industrialization. Climate changes caused by nature are resulting in Global Warming, increased precipitation and its uneven distribution, Melting of Glaciers and Snow, Sea level raise, increase in Frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Anthropogenic climate variations are caused by Spiraling population, High pace of Industrialization, Increase in use of Fossil Fuels in Industry and Transport, Deforestation for Agriculture and Urbanization.Climate change is factual, dangerous and is due to climate variations caused by natural factors and Anthropogenic (human made influences) variations. There are lots of natural factors that cause significant changes in the climate and can be External or Internally Induced. Externally Induced climate variability is caused by the impact of external factors, such as variations in solar radiation and Solar/Lunar tides. Internally Induced climate variability is due to interactions between components of the climate system, such as Ocean and Atmosphere, Atmosphere and Biosphere.
Some extreme events caused by climatic conditions in Pakistan are, On 18th &19th July, 2009 Karachi received a rainfall of 205mm. Heaviest rainfall recorded earlier in Karachi was 207 mm on 1st July, 1977. The normal rainfall in Karachi for the periods 1961-1990 is 85.5 mm. In 2007 a record heat wave of 48°C temperature after 78 years, gripped Pakistan during June, 2007.
In 1998-2001 severe drought in history struck southern parts of Pakistan and parts of surrounding countries.Pakistan is confident with its comprehensive approach adoption to meet its climate objectives, build required resilience and contribute to the global mitigation efforts against climate change. Pakistan is combating climate change to minimize the scale and its impact in two major ways first mitigating and secondly adapting to climate changes. Mitigation is achieved through using fossil fuels more efficiently in energy production and transport, switch to renewable energy like solar and wind wherever possible. Improve insulation of old buildings and houses. Protect and expand forests as they act as carbon sinks to save remaining forests. Adaption is achieved through rain water harvesting, planting trees in catchment areas, follow better agricultural practices, preparing for disasters, strengthen climate institutions and programs, spreading awareness, early warning systems, saving important species and reservoirs.Pakistan’s growing awareness about the impacts of climate change, a large number of agencies, organizations, research institutes, and political bodies are grappling with understanding patterns of vulnerability and how to adapt.
Pakistan is educating and practicing green economies such as renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro), conservation of natural resources (act as carbon sinks), protection of forests, efficiency, cleaner transport, greener buildings with right technology and funding for a richer and more secure future.To cope with adverse impacts of climate change, Pakistan Ministry of Climate Change took a number of steps to overcome the huge challenges confronted by the country. This includes National Climate Change Act as well as National Sustainable Development Strategy, Development of Technology Action Plans for adaptation and mitigation.
Pakistan has adopted a perspective development plan called “Vision 2025”, a National Climate Change Policy along with a Framework for its implementation, and a National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy. Climate combat challenges of developing countries are enormous. Pakistan alone, needed upto US$ 14 billion annually to adapt to climate change impacts and mitigation needs.
Whereas cost of adapting to climate change globally is $500B per year. Paris Climate Conference, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, will aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate to have global warming below 2°C.