Published On: Fri, Aug 28th, 2015

Pakistan most vulnerable to climate change: experts

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Abdur Razzaq

PESHAWAR: Climate Change is a global phenomenon and like any other country, Pakistan is also vulnerable to global warming; but while the society is yet to show resilience, the authorities concerned have also not taken any preventive measures, according to experts.

“We do not have much water storage systems in hilly areas, which is why every year a huge quantity is wasted,” says Afsar Khan, deputy director at the Climate Change Cell, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) while talking to The Nature News. “Biodiversity has also been affected by a rapid change in environment.”

Glaciers are melting quickly and the inflow of water in rivers and dams is getting lower by the day, thus affecting hydropower generation in a negative way, he says, adding the government should establish plants for windmill energy to cope with the prevailing energy crises. According to a study, a 1% reduction in stream flow can reduce electricity output by roughly 3%.

He says that during the 1960s, fossil fuels and hydro-carbons were explored and various industries established in different parts of the globe, which contributed to climate changes.

“The emission of carbon-dioxide from vehicles and industries in the shape of green house gasses, methane, nitro oxide, and sulphur hexafluoride, among other gases have high heat entrapping capacity, and keep the environment warm,” says Khan.

Talking about the impact of climate change on coastal areas, particularly Karachi, he said the sea level in the country had increased up to 60mm due to fast melting of glaciers, which is alarming.

“Saline seawater affects flora, fauna, agriculture and marine life in the region. The recent heat wave in Karachi is also caused by climate change.”

About K-P, the director argued that the most prone districts of the province included the mountainous Chitral and Upper Dir while the southern region, including Karak, Bannu and DI Khan will face severe drought because of less precipitation.

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The agriculture sector of southern region mostly depends upon seasonal water resources and rains but climate change has already affected weather and rain pattern in the area, he adds.

Muhammad Suliman Bacha, a PhD scholar working on climate change in district Swat says the impact of climate change could be observed easily in hilly areas as the residents of such regions depend on subsistence farming and hunting.

Yet, there is no sufficient data available on its impacts.

“The initial requirement for observing climate change of an area is to have historical data of the area’s weather pattern but unfortunately Pakistan does not have such facilities,” says Bacha. “The government should establish a separate department specifically dedicated to for climate change.”

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