Understanding Climate Change Catastrophe

By Muhammad Abbas Khaskheli

German Watch’s recently released report namely Global Climate Risk Index 2020 explains that Pakistan is the 5th most vulnerable country which has been affected by weather related loss events since 1999 to 2018. According to the report there have been occurred 154 extreme weather events in which 9,898 people have lost their lives and country has faced 3.8 billion dollars financial loss so far. The facts and figures in the report give an idea that Pakistan will be facing more serious climate risks in coming years. The report also cites that neither Pakistan itself nor the world intended seriously to tackle the threats of climate change the country has been going through for years.

Besides Pakistan in the list of 10 most affected countries the Puerto Rico is on the top of the list which is followed by Myanmar, Haiti and Philippines which are on 2, 3 and 4 position respectively while the countries Vietnam, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nepal and Dominica have secured 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 place in the ranking.

Among these top 10 countries, 7 are developing countries which can further be categorized into low income countries and the two countries i.e. Thailand and Dominica are middle income countries while the remaining country Puerto  Rico can be considered as an emerging economy of the world. The one of major reasons behind Pakistan’s constant continuation in the list is its geographical positioning. Actually the entire region where Pakistan exists has been facing extreme weather related loss events especially like floods, droughts and storms since 1999.

Pakistan was at 8th position when the same ranking was announced last year but it has jumped up to 5th position this year and the reason behind such sharp shuffling is that this time the two worst years of Pakistan’s history 2010 and 2011 have been included in which Pakistan had to witness devastated floods and heavy rains.

The financial loss of 3.8 billion dollars Pakistan has got due to climate change catastrophes indicates that the country has continuously been facing the music owing to climate changes and it’s not only a natural issue but actually one of the serious issues which have been affecting country’s economy, human health, agriculture and entire natural system. The report clearly points out that the world has not yet taken any serious steps to control affects of the climate change and owing to that flippant endeavor the whole world is in danger and same is the case with Pakistan where glaciers are melting at rapid pace while only speeches and lectures can’t stop those from further melting.

Pakistan lies in the region where climate risk events have been regular occurring and increasing day by day therefore it’s so important here to craft such strategies which can safeguard people from being more victims of climate risks. In this regard the assistance Pakistan requires can be obtained from the similar countries because the challenge is much bigger and it can never be achieved lonely.  Pakistan can also seek technical and financial support from international agencies working to cope with affects of climate change like Green Climate Fund.

According to the 2015 Paris Agreement, 196 countries of the world are bound to work jointly on controlling temperature and minimizing the affects of climate change. The report Pakistan has submitted makes clear that the country requires 40 billion dollars to minimize release of greenhouse gases by 2030 additionally it also needs 7 to 10 billion dollars annually to familiarize itself with the affects of climate change. There has been a dearth of required financial resources at international level to cope with the affects of climate risk events. Only 19 pc financial help has been collected in 2017.

Pakistan’s contribution in emission of green house gases has been less than 1 pc but despite that it has been more vulnerable to affects of climate change. It’s also a fact that Pakistan has been investing in such odd sources of energy which has been considered as the worst/bad energy in the world i.e. coal and owing to that Pakistan has been experiencing extreme climate risks/changes. It’s important to bring an end to energy crisis in the country but the methodology to generate electricity from coal is bit outdated and costly and the world is getting rid of it. Generating electricity through wind power and solar energy is much low-priced but it looks that we have decided to go with that old and expensive one. It’s like using tape recorder in the time of digital iPhone.

G-20 countries emit 7.8 pc green house gases which majorly contribute to the causes of climate change while only 15 countries among all have so far agreed to reduce emission of green house gases. Last year, the international forum/panel on climate change warned the world that if the global temperature rises to 1.5 Celsius, chances of floods, storms and heat stroke incidents would also be increased. We should not forget that so far only 1 Celsius increase in the global temperature has made 2019 the hottest year of the human history so what will happen if it further rises to 0.5 Celsius.

Understanding Climate Change Catastrophe

(The writer is a freelance journalist and he can be reached at abbaskhaskheli110@gmail.com)