Qudrat Ullah

Pakistan contributes only 0.8 percent to global carbon emissions but it is ranked the 8th most-affected country. According to Global Climate Risk Index, Pakistan is among the ten most vulnerable nations in the world when it comes to the effects of climate change over the past two decades.

Pakistan Meteorological Department said that the months of March and April remained the warmest in the history of Pakistan, whereas March was the 9th driest and hottest month since 1961.

While there has been record high heat in South Asia, particularly in India and Pakistan, it was intense, widespread, and left the population of both countries in scorching weather.

In India, there is a danger that crop yield will decrease by 10 to 35 percent, whereas, in Pakistan, the glaciers are melting at an unprecedented pace and the Shishpar glacier caused a flood and damaged key infrastructure in May.

Pakistan has more glaciers outside the polar icecaps than anywhere on the earth. These glaciers feed the whole Indus Basin. If the melting of glaciers continues at the same pace, then according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report 2021, the consequences will be irreversible.

Asian Development Bank and the World Bank in 2021 estimated that Pakistan is facing up to $3.8 billion in annual economic loss due to climate change.

In the last two decades, Pakistan has experienced around 152 events of natural disasters which have resulted in food security and affected the eco-system.

The changes in the pattern of rainfall are depleting Pakistan’s water resources, and the highly uncertain weather conditions can lead to a drought.

This year the desert areas like Thar and Cholistan have not received rainfall and people in the area have lost cattle and are forced to migrate to urban centers.

The seasonal pattern has changed to a large extent, and the spring season is contracting while summer is getting longer and hot.

In the same manner, the winter and autumn seasons are getting shorter and colder. Since 2016 the intense heat waves in Karachi have killed hundreds.

The less rainfall has caused huge migration to urban areas. The intense and above-average monsoon rainfall has caused floods in Sindh and Punjab frequently since 2009.

Climate change in Pakistan is wreaking havoc on people’s lives and the country’s economy. The higher cost of oil due to the Russia-Ukraine war is becoming unbearable to the fragile economy like Pakistan.

Due to higher costs, Pakistan is facing a liquidity problem which is resulting shortfall in energy production. Currently, Pakistan’s power generation is facing a shortfall of around 6 thousand megawatts.

Whereas its demand is increasing day by day due to heat waves, less rainfall, and a struggling economy. To turn the cost into gains, Pakistan has expanded its commitment to reforestation.

In 2014, Pakistan started to plant trees under the initiative of the ‘Billion Tree Tsunami”. The total area in Pakistan under forest is hardly 3 percent.

Officials say that so far around 3 billion trees have been planted. The vision of plantation will continue till 2030, and if in the same way the trees and mangroves are planted, it will become a capital for carbon sequestration.

In 2020, Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam told BBC that the country is in talks with four to five countries for a deal called “debt-for-nature swap” and under this deal, Islamabad will make commitments to the preservation of nature and expanding the alternatives to lessen the climate change.

In return, Pakistan will be able to wave off around $1 billion in debt.  Pakistan has introduced an “Adaptation Plan” for the economic, social, and national security of the country.

The country has plans to shift its 30 percent of transport to electric vehicles by 2030 and produce 60 percent of power/energy from renewable sources.

It has expanded the plantation program and is expected to plant 10 Billion Trees by 2030. Pakistan wants to be part of the global solution to climate change and not add to the problem.

Its commitment and actions to lessen carbon emissions have been acknowledged by the world. The nation’s actions are not only for its upcoming generations but playing a much-needed role in the global community to tackle climate change.


*The writer is a freelancer and media activist. He writes on political developments and security issues with a special focus on South Asia and the region. He can be reached at quddrat89@gmail.com


**The Diplomatic Insight does not take any position on issues and the views represented herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Diplomatic Insight and its staff. 

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