Climate change has inflicted on Pakistan a loss of around $3.57 billion over the past 18 years in the shape of flood devastation, change in rain and cropping patterns, increase in temperature, agricultural losses coupled with deforestation and low water quality.
Speakers stated this at the inaugural session of a three-day International Symposium on Strategic Conservation of Endangered Ecosystem at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) on Monday.
UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad, in his speech, warned of disasters in many areas caused by high temperature, rise in sea level, glacial retreat, floods and high frequency of drought. He said average global temperature had gone up by 0.6 degree Celsius over the past century and was likely to rise further by 1.1 to 6.4 degree Celsius by next century.
Climate change results from an increase in concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to use of fossil fuels and other human activities. “This is posing a serious threat to water security, food security and energy security of Pakistan,” he said.
In an effort to train the youth, Ahmad announced that the university would launch a BSc programme in the ecosystem, which would help students deal with the issue on scientific grounds.
National Textile University Rector Dr Niaz Ahmad pointed out that pollution was damaging the ozone layer badly, which was responsible for the climate change. Industries had damaged the world’s ecosystem by emitting carbon dioxide into air, he added.
Forest cover, which absorbs pollution, stood very low at 4% in Pakistan compared to world standards, he said.
Though glaciers provided 70% of water to the world, these were diminishing owing to damage to the ozone layer, causing floods while drought could also occur if tangible steps were not taken, he said.
Agricultural University Peshawar Vice Chancellor Dr Khan Bahadur Marwat said water demand in Pakistan mainly depended on Indus, fed by glaciers of the Himalayas, which were decreasing over the last few decades.
“Pakistan is standing at 16th position in terms of effect of climatic change,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2012.
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