The Seriousness of Climate Change

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The well-being and prosperity of the people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan are threatened in a number of ways by the global climate issue. Due to its diversified geography and tropical, continental climate, the nation already experiences several climates- and weather-related natural hazards (hot summers and cold winters). Recurrent heat waves, droughts, flash floods, landslides, and cyclones or sea storms all occur frequently in Pakistan. Climate change is predicted to enhance people’s vulnerability and increase the frequency and intensity of these catastrophes. The country is expected to experience considerable temperature rises (high confidence), particularly in the snow-covered mountainous north, which would hasten glacier melt and alter the course of the Indus River downstream.

In Pakistan, heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and intense, and there will be a large rise in the number of “hot” days and nights. Although there may be some seasonal changes (peak summer rain changing to August and peak winter rain shifting to March), changes in rainfall trends are unclear. All areas of the country are expected to see a rise in extremely wet days. Wide-ranging and potent negative feedback loops between livelihoods and health could be brought on by climate change.

Pakistan is a low-middle-income nation that is still largely rural, despite its economy gradually industrializing and the fact that over one-third of its people now live in towns and cities. Climate change puts Pakistan’s income, housing, food, and security in danger. Considering the tough facts, the Pakistani government must take urgent measures to combat the detrimental effects of climate change. Without a doubt, the authorities are paying close attention to this problem, which they see as sensitive and serious. A study found that Pakistan had “some of the highest disaster risk levels in the world, ranked 18 out of 191 countries by the 2020 Inform Risk Index,” and that Pakistan’s average temperatures were “significantly higher than the global average, with a potential rise of 1.3°C-4.9°C by the 2090s over the 1986-2005 baseline.”

For livelihoods and food security, the nation significantly depends on its climate-sensitive land, water, and forest resources. For 42% of the population, agriculture is still a major source of employment. The glacier-fed River Indus and its tributaries provide irrigation for about 90% of the world’s agricultural land. The rate of glacier melt has accelerated due to climate change, which will result in more glacier lake outburst floods (GLOF) and flash floods downstream. The flow of the River Indus is changing due to increased glacier melt, rising temperatures, changing seasons, and irregular rainfall patterns. This will have an increasing impact on agricultural operations, food production, and livelihoods. Multidimensional poverty affects 39% of the population already, and the loss of livelihoods indicated in this research will have a significant negative impact on people’s health and ability to pay for healthcare.

People’s capacity to work and support themselves will be impacted by health issues, including heat exhaustion, starvation, the advent of vector-borne illnesses like dengue fever, and the increased prevalence of waterborne illnesses. Religious and racial minorities, migrants, and internally displaced people will all be extremely susceptible since they frequently live in hazardous areas and encounter obstacles getting access to healthcare, including financial ones brought on by unofficial employment. Premature births, domestic violence, and child marriage might all potentially rise as a result of climate change. Due to decreased food production, women and children will also be more susceptible to malnutrition. Global inequality trends are intrinsically related to climate change. Even though they are the least responsible for the disaster, those most at risk from climate change suffer the greatest harm. As the impacts of climate change worsen in terms of catastrophic events, health repercussions, food security, economic assurance, water security, and cultural identity, millions of vulnerable people are experiencing disproportionate difficulties.

Disasters are more likely to affect households headed by women, children, individuals with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples and ethnic minorities, landless renters, migrant workers, displaced people, people who identify as either gay or straight, the elderly, and other socially excluded groups. Their vulnerability is a result of several things, such as their location, wealth, socioeconomic status, culture, and gender, as well as their access to justice, healthcare, and decision-making. Initiatives to mitigate climate change frequently have an unfavorable impact on the most vulnerable people. In the absence of well-designed and supportive policies, climate change adaptation measures may place a greater financial burden on poor households. For instance, policies to increase public transportation or carbon pricing may result in higher public transportation fares, which will disproportionately affect poorer households. Similar to the previous example, limiting forestry operations to specific times of the year may affect indigenous groups, who depend on woods for their subsistence all year round. Understanding and addressing social inclusion, cultural, and political economy issues is necessary in addition to addressing the distributional effects of decarbonizing economies. For example, choosing the appropriate transitions (economic, social, etc.) and spotting opportunities to address social inequality during these transitions are important.

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