For the last three years Earth has been breaking its own record of experiencing the hottest year. Despite this scientific reality world leaders such as Donald Trump refuse to acknowledge the threat of climate change, making the more sensible people on the planet very, very nervous.
Whether you live an affluent life or belong to a third world country, climate change is affecting all of us and in a very negative way. It’s causing droughts in some parts of the world, making trees die out in the thickest of forests and depleting the world’s water sources.
However, while scientists and climate change activists are trying very hard to raise awareness, most people still have a very superficial understanding of climate change and its dire consequences for our planet.
The case of Pakistan is no different: while climate change is quickly destroying our way of life, we remain aloof to its repercussions.
For a lay person’s understanding, here are 3 ways in which climate change is affecting Pakistan.
In the last decade Pakistan has been hit with an unprecedented number of natural disasters including frequent flash floods. These natural disasters are not random events happening without any cause. On the contrary they are a direct result of rapid climate change that is making itself evident through erratic monsoon rains causing loss of life, property and social security. The worst example of this came in 2010 when 70% of the country’s landmass was submerged under water following disastrous floods that ravaged Pakistan’s landscape.
Moreover, owing to the projected increase in sea levels (because of a rise of sea surface temperature), there is a very real threat of cyclonic activity in the country’s coastal regions.
Reduced Agricultural Produce
Pakistan is an agricultural economy. This means that the majority of our income is dependent on agriculture. However, rising temperatures owing to global warming have stressed the water table resulting in a steady decrease in the country’s agricultural production. By the end of the century, if the situation does not improve, the average per acre yield of our wheat crop will go down by 8% while our basmati rice production will decrease by 15%.
Water Resources and Internal Conflict
With climate change taking a toll on the available water resources, scientists foresee increased conflicts between regions in Pakistan that are closer to water resources and hence, receive more water and those areas that are farther away from rivers and other water sources. In the last five years, we have already seen many heated debates on television between provincial leaders fighting over the water situation in their respective provinces. If climate change is left unchecked, these televised debates can transform into physical conflicts with consequences more severe than an awkward anchor person sandwiched between two screaming politicians.
Climate change poses a tangible threat to Pakistan’s survival and to begin with, it is important that every citizen at least has an understanding of the horrific impact that it’s having on our lives.