UN climate summit: Pakistan tops climate-risk index

Published: November 30, 2011

The United Nations Climate Summit in Durban, South Africa. PHOTO: F ZAMAN

DURBAN: 

Pakistan has been ranked as number one on a list of countries hit worst by weather extremes in 2010 by Germanwatch, a climate and development organisation. The index, which ranks countries affected over the last twenty years by weather extremes such as flooding and storms, was announced during an address at the United Nations Climate Summit in Durban, South Africa.

“The timely report analytically supports and strongly reinforces our case for extreme climate vulnerability,” said former environment minister Malik Amin Aslam.

“[The index] recognises the now indisputable fact that Pakistan faces climate impacts which are not only happening in real time but in a widely diverse pattern – ranging from extreme events such as cyclones, glacial melting and floods as well as indirect impacts such as droughts, shifting cropping patterns and climate-induced migrants,” he added.

Need for funds

Speaking at the press conference, government official Farrukh Iqbal Khan highlighted that Pakistan incurred an economic loss worth an estimated $9.6 billion from last year’s floods alone, whereas 8 million people were affected and hundreds of lives lost.

Building on Pakistan’s case, Iqbal said that he was frustrated by the ‘unwillingness’ of countries to contribute to the Adaptation Fund for vulnerable countries to deal with climate change impacts. He further explained: “The rising financial costs for coping with climate disasters, highlighted in the report, are also in line with our internal analysis which forecasts these climate finance needs to be in the range of $6-14 billion per annum for Pakistan”.

According to Sven Harmeling, author of the index and team leader of International Climate Policy at Germanwatch, “the current inadequate promises of the world’s governments to fight climate change will push our limits of preparing for disasters and adaptation”. He added, “Durban’s climate summit will be decisive for necessary commitments made by all governments to reverse the global emissions trend”.

Climate disasters will increase

Earlier this month, the UN-convened Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its report “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation”, which linked extreme weather conditions to climate change. It further predicted that the frequency and intensity of climate disasters will increase, and vulnerable countries like Pakistan will be severely affected.

Unfortunately, Pakistan lacks both the technology and capacity to respond to these climate impacts effectively. Even after experiencing severe floods in 2010, Pakistan was unable to initiate proper disaster management systems which would have helped in dealing with the floods in Sindh this year.

Iqbal explained the government is doing its best to deal with natural disasters, saying “We are working with different entities to build the institutional capacities of Pakistan to respond to these disasters. We have already taken an initial step in the right direction”.

The Germanwatch report will assist Pakistan in making the case demanding urgency of response both locally as well as in Durban during the climate talks.

The Global Climate Risk Index is based on data collected from the renowned database MunichRe.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.

Reader Comments (14)

  • Alee Xee
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:52AM

    Alarming !! I would be shocked if any of our politicians care about this

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  • Mirza
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:30AM

    Looks like even God is not too kind to us these days. We must change course in every sphere of life if we want to even maintain our current lifestyle let alone improve it. But again we have hundreds of WMD and committed to expensive war toys we can live without basics in life.

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  • Nov 30, 2011 - 1:55PM

    People don’t even know about such appalling conditions of our courynt. Politicians are fighting with each other, religious rallies, ethnic protests, target killings, inflation, poverty, illiteracy, and what not in Pakistan..!! God knows what’s going to happen with this nation in denial. !!
    And just today, I heard someone saying that The Global Climate Risk Index is prepared by CIA and Zionists.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Nov 30, 2011 - 2:18PM

    Another number 1 spot for the Land of Pure !!!

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  • Shyam
    Nov 30, 2011 - 3:11PM

    Maybe Pakistan can nuke weather if it plans to do something disastrous

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  • Hedgefunder
    Nov 30, 2011 - 4:26PM

    @Pakistani Hindu:
    And just today, I heard someone saying that The Global Climate Risk Index is prepared by CIA and Zionists

    This is the problem with Pakistan and its people as they have been brainwashed over last 3-4 decades by their rulers to blame everyone but themselves !!!I
    Its really is about time for some serious self examination !!
    I am sure CIA and Zionists and perhaps RAW, Mossad,KGB etc….. have lot better things to do !

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  • Nirmit
    Nov 30, 2011 - 5:24PM

    “government official Farrukh Iqbal Khan highlighted that Pakistan incurred an economic loss worth an estimated $9.6 billion from last year’s floods alone, whereas 8 million people were affected and hundreds of lives lost”

    “Unfortunately, Pakistan lacks both the technology and capacity to respond to these climate impacts effectively”

    Hey hey…Pakistan has an atom bomb…is it not a technology and capacity to respond to disasters!!!! What an irony that a nation who focusses solely on military might is losing and getting hit at the bottom…..
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  • Cautious
    Nov 30, 2011 - 5:24PM

    Iqbal said that he was frustrated by the ‘unwillingness’ of countries to contribute to the Adaptation Fund for vulnerable countries to deal with climate change impacts.
    .
    Old story — people are reluctant to give money to countries that misuse donations – people are also reluctant to give money to countries that are caught hiding/supporting OBL.

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  • vasan
    Nov 30, 2011 - 7:10PM

    And this index gives another reason for Pakistan to raise false alarms,bogeys etc for greenbacks.

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  • meekal ahmed
    Nov 30, 2011 - 9:05PM

    We seem to top every kind of risk index.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Nov 30, 2011 - 10:38PM

    @meekal ahmed:
    What do you expect ? After all this the Land of Pure!!!!
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  • imran
    Dec 5, 2011 - 9:18PM

    The caption given to the article is extremely misleading. It is not an index, in fact the factsheet only shows that Pakistan was hit by many climate related problems like earthquake. It is by no means an index of vulnertability.

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  • Sohaib
    Dec 20, 2011 - 11:24PM

    Pakistan has better hunger and shelter index than India
    Pakistan has better ease of doing business index than India as we are less corrupt than Indians
    Pakistan has the largest voluntary ambulance service in the world
    Pakistan is the 7th nuclear power, with an excellent record of nuclear safety (remember Chernobel and Bhopal)
    Pakistanis are mature that in 1987 they saw Pakistani Cricket team loosing a semifinal of world cup and absorbed it. 10 years later Indian crowd could not do the same and started throwing stones, match had to be stopped
    Pakistan has a strong army
    Pakistan has independent judiciary, media and democracy
    Pakistan has 2nd largest coal reserves in the world.
    By 2014 Inshallah Pakistan will rise in the world as a developing country
    Dont loose hope, serve the country with pride. Long Live Pakistan

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  • Jan 1, 2012 - 3:34PM

    As regards climate my learned friends, there are 3 countries in the world damaging the climate the most. Guess who these nations are?

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