GILGIT: A top NGO official warned that a number of major cities, including Karachi and Singapore, and the island nation of the Maldives could face inundation in the near future if radical measures are not adopted to curb carbon emissions.
“The sea level has increased by a metre…and it can further increase if solid and steps are not taken quickly to address the issue,” said Babar Khan, the regional head of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) while briefing journalists here on the topic ‘Regional Climate Risk Reduction in Himalayas’, a UNDP and WWF-sponsored initiative.
He said that glaciers across the globe were “melting at a fast pace” and as a result contribute to the flooding of coastal cities if drastic steps are not taken to slow down the melting.
Khan said that since 1995, an extraordinary rise in temperature has plunged the overall natural system in disequilibrium.
He explained that as a result of more than a decade-long research, it has been “established that global warming is not an appropriate term to refer to the change in global temperatures, instead climate change is a better one to refer to changes in the climate.
The NGO expert said that floods that wreaked havoc across the country were “caused by climate change”.
“We are experiencing changes in climate…more rains and floods are taking place,” he said, adding that mountain flora and fauna, heavily dependent on pastures for sustenance, “are losing their production capabilities”.
“Pastures are like universities (and) climate change is also affecting them,” he said, adding that the variety of species in a pasture can be completely washed away in floods and landslides triggered by rains.
He said that food cycles have also been disturbed because of fast receding glaciers. He said that encounters between wild animals and local people have become more frequent in mountainous areas. Snow leopards and other carnivores now tend to come down and enter settlements in search of food. “Wildlife is facing extinction because of disturbances in the food chain.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2010.