Navigating global boiling


Muhammad Ali Falak July 10, 2024
The writer is a Fulbright alumni working on climate change

print-news

In the wake of global boiling, Pakistan has little option but to change its course towards countering climate-induced disasters, rising electricity costs and unsustainable construction practices. The term has gained alarming validation in the past few months after mentioned by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres stating, “The era of global warming has ended. The era of global boiling has arrived.” July 2023 had become the hottest month in the past 120,000 years.

As temperature rises, it will be almost impossible for the countries to meet the energy demands of the people, especially when they are pivoting on a culture of energy-guzzling unsustainability.

Recently, Kuwait has announced temporary power cuts in some parts of the country during peak consumption hours, saying it is struggling to meet increased demand spurred by extreme summer heat. In a statement on Wednesday, Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy said the scheduled cuts would occur for up to two hours a day, in the first such step for the OPEC member state as climate change causes temperatures to rise.

This year’s Haj turned tragic as over 1,300 pilgrims succumbed to soaring temperatures, which reached a blistering 51.8 degrees Celsius. The deadly heatwave in Saudi Arabia is part of a broader trend of unprecedented heat affecting regions worldwide. Earlier this month, Pakistan and India faced similar extreme conditions. In Sindh, temperatures skyrocketed to over 52°C, with Mohen-jo-daro experiencing 52.2°C, nearly matching the country’s record high of 54°C.

The floods wreaked havoc, resulting in deaths in the UAE and Oman. Over 1,000 flights at Dubai’s airport were cancelled, causing significant travel disruptions.

Similarly, Southern China faced severe flooding in Guangdong province, displacing over 100,000 people. Meanwhile, northern China battled prolonged droughts and heatwaves, highlighting the varied and devastating impacts of climate change across the country.

Pakistan should stop embedding their heads in the sand like an Ostrich and learn from OPEC member states like Kuwait which have to optimise the use of electricity incentivising renewable energy resources.

For Pakistan, it means a greater energy crisis and the rising cost of electricity bills, greater and more frequent floods, heat strokes, larger interruptions in school days, and more energy requirements to control the inside temperatures of houses. All of this needs thoughtful planning for a systematic approach to prevent, adapt and mitigate the menace of climate change.

The slumber to act in the right direction at the right time can take us to the frying pans or frying plains in this case.

Daunting as it may sound, the existential threat can only be catered if we start looking at the matter eyeball to eyeball. There is a dire need in the metrological cities to shift from conventional concrete structures to more sustainable materials. In cities like Lahore, green retrofitting should be adopted which means sifting the buildings to net zero i.e. buildings which do not add gases to the atmosphere which results in the rise of temperature. This can be done by providing green roofs to the buildings, installing solar panels, using water more efficiently and reduce production of waste materials. The construction industry can pay huge dividends if the local practices are analysed through the lense of climate change.

Additionally, there is a dire need to adopt energy-efficient designs for residential buildings. Our houses feel like ovens in summer and turn refrigerators in winter. Consequently, we need to use continuous electricity to make them comfortable.

One I came across a video of some politicians using chillers in their open lawns! The business community is also not ready to adopt any measures to save electricity. A single shop in a cloth market in Lahore will have hundreds of energy-consuming bulbs, fans and air conditioners. We are fast running out of the window to make amends!

How we write our story of climate change is still in our own hands — but the clock is ticking!

COMMENTS (1)

Cristina Caputo | 3 days ago | Reply Pakistanis are like a deer standing on a railway track staring at the on coming train that is blaring ear piercing warning horn.
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ