ISLAMABAD: More frequent extreme weather events further intensifying global and regional instability, hunger, poverty, and conflicts which could lead to food and water shortages and disputes over natural resources.
In Pakistan, climate change-related extremes are on the rise, hazards intensity and frequency is increasing, vulnerabilities and exposures on the growing which needs for disaster risk financing.
These were the views of climate change experts at the ‘Mainstreaming Climate Change in Punjab’s Growth Strategy and SDG Plans’ workshop, organised by Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan at a local hotel on Thursday.
The author of National Climate Change Policy 2012 and former Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) DG Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry gave an overview of the climate change policy and framework for implementation. He said climate-related extremes are on the rise, while hazard intensity and frequency is increasing, which is linked to climate variability and change.
He said that vulnerability and exposure was on the rise, which creates the need needs more disaster risk financing. He said the 2010 floods affected 20 million people, with around 1,985 deaths, damage to 1.89 million houses, and caused economic losses of $9.6 billion.
“Above normal rainfall, higher temperatures and moisture all were favourable climatic factors for outbreak of dengue fever in Punjab, due to which 16,000 people were infected and 306 died,” he said, and added that the sustainable development was the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
He said that a considerable increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, erratic monsoon rains causing frequent and intense floods and drought. He said that economic and social major challenges besides of environmental challenges to the country.
“These threats may lead Pakistan to major concerns in terms of its water, food and energy security as well as to its national security, as Pakistan is among the top 8- countries most vulnerable to climate change,” Dr Zaman said and added that projected recession of [HKH] glaciers threatening water inflows into Indus River System (IRS). Increased temperature leading to reduced agricultural productivity, increased intrusion of saline water into Indus delta due to sea-level rise.
LEAD Pakistan CEO and Climate and Development Knowledge Network Asia Director Ali Tauqeer Sheikh emphasised that ‘Understanding Climate Change Complexities and its possible effects through scientific jargon can be a daunting task.
He added that for a stakeholder with a non-scientific background, climate change is often viewed as a theoretically inaccessible concept given that solutions to date have focused on scientific measures rather than the ‘human’ aspects of the problem.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2016.