Tackling climate change, Pakistan is one of the 10 nations most susceptible to the effects of climate change. Pakistan does, however, contribute very little to global carbon emissions—less than 1%. The nation is dealing with a number of difficulties as a result of climate change, including:
- Water scarcity: Climate change is affecting precipitation patterns in Pakistan, leading to decreased water availability and increased risk of drought. This is having a major impact on agriculture, which is the backbone of the country’s economy.
- Glacial melt and flash floods: The Himalayas, which are located in northern Pakistan, contain the world’s third-largest deposit of ice outside of the polar regions. This ice is melting at an increasing rate due to climate change, which is causing flash floods and impacting infrastructure and communities downstream.
- Rising sea levels: Pakistan’s coastal communities are at risk from rising sea levels, which are threatening to inundate low-lying areas and exacerbate coastal erosion.
- Heatwaves and increased frequency of extreme weather events: Climate change is causing increased frequency of heatwaves, which are affecting human health, as well as increased frequency of extreme weather events such as floods and cyclones, which are having a major impact on infrastructure and communities.
In response to these challenges, Pakistan is taking steps to address the impacts of climate change, such as investing in renewable energy, i.e., stopped coal production, improving water management, billion tree Tsunami project initiated by Imran khan, and developing early warning systems for natural disasters. However, more action is needed to ensure that the country is prepared to face the growing threats posed by climate change.
Pakistan’s Vulnerability to Climate Change Threats
The important climate change threats to Pakistan are:
- Considerable increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, coupled with erratic monsoon rains causing frequent and intense floods and droughts;
- The projected recession of the Hindu Kush- Karakoram-Himalayan(HKH) glaciers due to global warming and black carbon so to deposits from indigenous and trans-boundary pollution sources, threatening water inflows into the Indus River System(IRS);
- Increased siltation of major dams caused by more frequent and intense rains in the catchment areas and subsequent floods;
- Rising temperatures resulting in enhanced heat and water-stressed conditions, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions, leading to reduced agricultural productivity;
- Increasing air pollution from agriculture, transport and industry resulting into smog inflicting huge loss to aviation, reduced mobility, loss of lives in accidents due to poor visibility and health hazard;
- Further decrease in the already scanty forest cover, from too rapid change in climatic conditions to allow natural migration of adversely affected plant species and wildlife habitat;
- Increased intrusion of saline water in the Indus delta, adversely affecting coastal agriculture, mangroves and the breeding grounds of fish;
- Threat to coastal areas due to projected sea level rise and increased cyclonic activity due to higher sea surface temperatures;
- Increased stress between the upper and lower riparian regions in relation to sharing of water resources;
- Increased health risks and climate change-induced migration.
The above threats may lead to major survival concerns for Pakistan, particularly in relation to the country’s water security, food security and energy security.
How does Pakistan tackle the effects of Climate change?
Pakistan, like many other countries, is facing significant challenges due to the impacts of climate change. To tackle these challenges, the country can take a range of actions, including:
Water Resource Drive
- Assess and address the needs for additional water storage and distribution
- Ensure early rehabilitation, remodeling and up- gradation of the existing irrigation infrastructure in the country to make it resilient to climate change related extreme events;
- Develop multi-purpose small dams for storage off load water;
- Identify new potential dam sites to keep the option open to develop new dams, should they be needed;
- Develop necessary infrastructure to harness the potential of hill torrents;
- Enforce measures to enhance the life of existing storage facilities.
- Legislate and enforce industrial and domestic was management practices to protect
- the environment, in particular water resources, from further degradation;
- Enact and enforce laws and regulations required for efficient water resource management and a groundwater regulatory framework;
- Protect the HKH glaciers, considered the world’s water tower, by declaring them as ‘protected areas’ through agreements among countries sharing the Himalayan region.
- Improve crop productivity per unit of land and per unit of water by ncreasing the efficiency of various agricultural inputs, in particular irrigation water;
- Promote energy efficient farm mechanization to increase yields and laborsaving;
- Improve farm practices by adopting modern techniques such as laser land leveling, crop diversification, proper cropping patterns and optimized planting dates;
- Promote appropriate technologies for small- scale irrigation, water re-use (waste/ water recycling), and rain water harvesting, etc.
- Promote through financial incentives, solar water desalination for irrigation and drinking particularly in saline groundwater regions;
- Improve irrigation practices by adopting, wherever feasible, modern techniques such as the use of sprinklers and trickle irrigation;
- Develop capacity based on Remote Sensing and GIS techniques to assess temporal changes in land cover in different agro-ecological zones;
- Promote bio technology in terms of more carbon responsive crops, improved breeds and production of livestock using genetic engineering.
Health Drive to Tackle Climate Change
- Assess the health vulnerabilities of communities in areas most likely to be affected by the adverse impact of climate change, and build their capacities to reduce these vulnerabilities;
- Ensure that appropriate measures to address health related climate change issues are incorporated into national health plans;
- Inform, sensitize, educate and train health personnel and the public about climate change related health issues;
- Ensure that preventive measures and resources such as vaccines, good quality medication and clean drinking water are available to the general public easily and cost effectively particularly during climate related extreme events;
- Upgrade and extend disease outbreak monitoring and forecasting systems to counteract possible climate change health impacts and support prior planning for effective interventions;
- Improve data recording, reporting, analysis and storage of climate-sensitive diseases at all levels of service delivery.
- Conduct assessments on the impacts of climate change on vector/waterborne and nutritional diseases;
- Prioritize climate-related risks based on the assessment and identifying technology and infrastructure options to improve resilience in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector;
- Explore public-private partnerships to resolve the issue of financial access for WASH service provision as well as quality assurance;
- Adopt water and sanitation safety plans for rural and urban areas.
Pakistan Forest Drive
- Signify the importance of forests to mitigate extreme weather events including heat waves, floods, etc.
- Encourage multinational firms and agencies to support awareness campaigns on benefits of forest ecosystems through ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’
- Encourage collaboration with international scientific bodies to extend their forest related adaptation research into Pakistan;
- Encourage empirical research on adaptation of forests, biodiversity and forest management systems to climate change;
- Encourage research on forest pathology at provincial level to curtail insect/disease damage to forests;
- Establish a federal level Center of Excellence on forestry for international level research and higher-level education.
A Biodiversity Drive
- Encourage empirical research at national key research institutions on flora and fauna in the context of their responses to current and historical climatic changes;
- Set National Biodiversity Indicators and provide the requisite financial resources for implementation of the Biodiversity Action Plan ;
- Ensure the integrity of all ecosystems and the protection of biodiversity in the country to deal with climate change adaptation and mitigation challenges;
- Establish gene banks, seed banks, zoos and botanical gardens to conserve the biological diversity of valuable species;
- Integrate conservation and protection of biological diversity in to various disciplines such as forestry and marine and pastures;
- Adopt ‘Ecosystem-based Adaptation ’as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change;
- Encourage involvement of local communities in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;
- Take necessary measures to establish nature reserves in areas that are rich in biodiversity to preserve their existence;
- Establish protected areas in all vulnerable ecosystems, particularly in coastal and marine areas;
- Assist genetically impoverished species or those that have important ecosystem functions by providing natural migration corridors as well as assisted migration;
- Ensure proper management and mitigation of invasive species that are expanding due to climate change effect;
- Ensure proper management through biological control of pests (locust) to prevent economic loss;
- Ensure the expansion of current protected area coverage, and make these protected areas fully functional with proper ecological management plan to ensure future ecosystem sustenance.
In conclusion, tackling the impacts of climate change in Pakistan requires a comprehensive approach that involves a range of actions, including reducing emissions, improving resilience, and promoting sustainable practices. With concerted effort and international cooperation, it is possible to reduce the destruction caused by climate change and build a more sustainable future for the country and its people.
National Climate Change Policy of Pakistan Download for Free