Steps urged to tackle climate change

Regret government has no proper legal framework for the matter

Our Correspondent August 31, 2016
Zubair Torwali, an activist from Chitral, highlighted the risk faced by the valley due to natural calamities. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

PESHAWAR: Heatwaves, rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, storms, floods and reduction in crop production are some of the problems faced by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa due to climate change. This was said by experts at a daylong seminar held at a local hotel in the city on Wednesday. The event on the effects of climatic change was organised by an NGO.

“We are facing severe climatic problems due to which agriculture is directly affected,” University of Agriculture, Pehawar Climate Change Cell Director Inamullah said. “Major issues are affecting our food resources due to which future of the province is at stake.” He warned of food insecurity if proper steps were not taken.

“The province is dependent on agriculture,” he said, adding K-P looked to Punjab for its grains. The experts urged the government to create awareness among farmers to help them adapt to changing conditions.

They said climate was never looked at seriously in Pakistan despite the fact farms of the country were suffering due to erratic rain pattern, heatwaves, depleting glaciers and their resulting floods.

Inam added Pakistan ranked as the eighth country most affected by natural calamities. From 2014 to the present day, the country ranked as the fifth most affected by floods, heavy rains and heatwaves which killed thousands of people.

“Although we have low emissions—hardly 0.7% of the total Greenhouse emissions produced by the world—we are severely affected in every field of our lives,” he said. Inamullah added the country was in close proximity with the world’s top emitters - India and China.

Professor (retd) Dr Shafiqur Rahman of the environmental sciences department said despite the subject being devolved to the provinces after the 18th Amendment, there was no legal framework to deal with climate change.

“Currently there is a vacuum in the laws, despite the fact the country has dozens of commitments under international laws agreements,” Rahman said.

He added there were hundreds of brick kilns around Peshawar that burn low grade coal, but there were no checks on them and neither were they registered with industrial authorities.

He said laws should be introduced to curb emitters and this should be on the top of every government’s priority list.

The professor slammed the fact that no mainstream political party of the country had a policy to tackle climate change on its agenda.  The K-P government recently made a climate change policy two years after the creation of a relevant cell.

Zubair Torwali, an activist from Chitral, highlighted the risk faced by the valley due to natural calamities. He said Chitral was the worst affected by sudden floods. He pointed out villagers have even started migrating from their native areas.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2016.


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