Climate commitment

Pakistan urgently needs to ad­dress climate change. The country is highly vulnerable to climate variations, with signifi­cant environmental and societal impacts, mirroring trends seen across South Asia. The melting Hi­malayan glaciers have disrupted crucial rivers, intensifying heat, droughts, and extreme weather in certain regions. In a ranking of na­tions affected by climate-induced extreme weather (1999-2018), Pakistan claimed the fifth spot. The region faces various natu­ral disasters, including cyclones, floods, droughts, and earthquakes. The catastrophic floods in 2022, linked to climate change, devastat­ed infrastructure, displacing many and causing substantial loss of life.

In May 2022, Pakistan experi­enced a severe heatwave, with temperatures soaring to 51°C—an event 100 times more likely due to climate change. The Lahore High Court’s recent decision to close educational institutions on Sat­urdays aligns with the provincial government’s efforts, making face masks mandatory in smog-affect­ed districts. Both measures high­light a collective acknowledgment of the severity of environmen­tal challenges, especially as La­hore consistently ranks among the world’s most polluted cities.

The court’s proactive stance, emphasising work-from-home ar­rangements and scrutinising gov­ernment and industrial units, re­flects a comprehensive approach to combating the multifaceted impacts of environmental degra­dation. Collaborative efforts are crucial, and this commitment is essential for safeguarding citizens. Pakistan’s continuous vulnerabil­ity to climate change exacerbates existing challenges, potentially triggering a disastrous outcome, particularly when combined with political unrest and economic in­stability. The BBC Climate Asia sur­vey underscores that a majority of Pakistanis recognize the adverse effects of climate change on floods, droughts, and resource availabili­ty. Urgent reforms, encompassing sustainable technology, scientif­ic advancements, and behavioural shifts, are necessary for mitigat­ing environmental impact. The re­duction of fossil fuel dependen­cy with cleaner energy sources is vital. Governments must lead by example, committing to uphold international agreements for ef­fective reform. In the agricultural sector, climate factors significant­ly impact wheat production. Rain­fall, sowing time, and temperature directly influence yield and quali­ty. By adopting sustainable farm­ing practices and promoting cli­mate-smart agriculture, Pakistan can mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture, en­suring a sustainable future.

ENGR. YAQOOB ALI BALOCH

JAMSHORO

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