“Pakistan is among the countries worst hit by global climate change,” experts at a seminar organised by the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF) said on Thursday.
Chairing the inaugural session of Climate Changes: Adaption Strategies to Ensure Food Security, UAF Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad Khan said melting glaciers were causing floods. “This can cause a famine in years to come.”
He said Pakistan was ranked 8th in the list of countries most affected by climate change. The VC said 80 per cent of Pakistan’s fresh water was not being utilised. “It is being dumped into sea… the remaining 20 per cent is providing Rs15 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through agriculture.”
Khan said the agricultural productivity would significantly increase if proper water saving measures were adopted. Former Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD) director general Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry said climate changes were not only posing threats to the environment but also creating development and agricultural challenges.
He was of the view that agricultural scientists need to develop heat tolerant varieties of crops to ensure food security.
Former World Bank chief economist Manzoor A Khan said, “Impacts of climate change are our own doing… We have not constructed any large dams in the last 40 years… deforestation and heavy emissions of smoke from factories are further aggravating the situation.”
Gerrit Hoogenboom from Washington State University said joint efforts were needed to cope with increasing carbon dioxide. “Crops resisting high temperature are the need of the hour to fight climate changes and increasing carbon dioxide.” Agriculture Model Inter-Comparison and Improvement Project (AgMiP) Principal Investigator Ashfaq Ahmed said carbon dioxide was likely to increase from 390ppm to 571ppm in the future. PMD Deputy Director General Ghulam Rasool said the last century saw one centigrade increase in global temperature. “World temperatures can go up by 2 centigrade by 2050,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2014.