Published On: Thu, Jul 23rd, 2015

Pakistan economy vulnerable to climate change

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Blog by Jeetesh G Maheshwari
KARACHI
Pakistan is fast moving to the top of the list of countries suffering with climate change. In recent years country witnessed extreme weather events. Super flood in 2010, 2011, 2012, severe drought in Thar Desert, White Desert, southern Balochistan and Kohistan region of southern Sindh province, are few of the example to confirm that with passage of time, Pakistan will suffer disasters related to climate change.

The recent heat wave that struck country’s biggest city of Karachi and killed more than 1300 people is also another example that climate change is taking its toll. Scientists are warning for more such events in near future. Karachi is already lost its urban forest cover and is become most vulnerable to extreme weather events.

Changes in weather on earth, due to an increase or even decrease in the average atmospheric temperature, is causing extreme weather events such as torrential rains, severe droughts and flooding.
According to experts one of biggest reasons that causes global warming, is the mass level emission of greenhouse gases including Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) in the atmosphere due to the human activities.

Besides greenhouse gases, tree cutting or deforestation is also accelerating the process of global warming, which ultimately causes change in the climate, which brings disasters.
Different reports states that Pakistan has lost most of its forest cover since partition in 1947. We have lost riverine forests, urban forest, mountainous forests and even desert forests. Official data states that in 1947, the forest cover of Pakistan was almost 24 percent of its total geography, which is now less than 4.6 percent, which is alarmingly.

Another upcoming disaster that will be very dangerous for Pakistan is the sea level rise. A recent report presented in Pakistani senate warned that Sindh’s coastal area including its capital city of Karachi, Thatta and Badin will be submerged by sea level rise by 2060.

Photo By Amar Guriro

Photo By Amar Guriro

Since 2014, vast scattered Thar Desert is witnessing severe drought that caused starvation like situation and the malnutrition killed hundreds of children in the desert region. The drought is continued in this fertile desert for last three consecutive years.

These extreme weather events are posing serious threats to human life, economy, infrastructure and a burden on national budget. Large numbers of the indigenous communities were uprooted from their native places and they lost their fertile land, livestock, standing crops and even houses. The victims of the 2010 floods are yet to be rehabilitated and they are wandering here and there.

We need to plant forests at mass level in order to protect Pakistan from extreme weather events. Climate change is fact and it will take its toll, but by planting trees we can reduce the level of severity. Everyone has to plant at least two trees near their homes, schools, colleges, offices or in the public places.

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