Climate change is an inescapable process that will have a long-term impact on human survival. Despite Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change, the government has given other highly pressing domestic crises a higher priority. Extreme weather events, such as heavy downpours, erratic floods, droughts, sea-level rise, glacier melting, etc., have been brought on by the changing climate in Pakistan. Pakistan is currently ranked seventh among the nations most susceptible to the negative effects of climate change. Pakistan is experiencing a recurring annual loss of 3.86 billion as a result of climate change (World Bank). The country’s geographic location has made it more susceptible to global warming than the rest of the world and it is evident from the recent event of abrupt intense rain and cloud bursting events.
The situation will worsen, CNN reported that there will be a 20% rise in rainfall events across Asia during the next decade. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had earlier anticipated that glacial ice would disappear from Pakistan by 2030 due to a temperature rise, but it later extended that prediction by a few more decades. According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, the country’s average temperature would rise quicker than the rest of the world. All of these forecasts provide a grim picture of Pakistan’s future, which includes severe flooding, food insecurity, Glacier melting and droughts. In addition, the monsoon patterns have been altered by changes in precipitation intensity and timing brought on by Pakistan’s rapid rise in temperature as a result of climate change. Therefore, there is a major risk to both life and property when monsoon patterns shift as a result of climate change. The residents of Pakistan would experience issues as a result of the severe flooding and power outages. The Pakistani agricultural and industrial sectors would suffer-as it is suffering from the current floods- as a result of the altered monsoon patterns.
The government needs to stop political hocus-pocus as the country is already in a triple environmental and planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change.
Pakistan Meteorological Department’s (PMD) examination of the monsoon rainfall distribution over the past three decades shows that the country’s main monsoon pattern has moved 100 kilometres to the west. The patterns of rainfall distribution have a seasonal-temporal- and spatial shift. Similar to how the winter rains have changed to late February and early March, the summer monsoon has moved toward the end of the season.
The government has to upgrade the nation’s sewage and drainage systems to combat the recurring monsoon menace and to prevent waterborne diseases like dengue, typhoid and diarrhoea outbreaks from breaking out because of water stagnation. The cause of the current situation is a governance and management crisis in the country while those responsible put the blame on the neighbouring country for directing more water towards Pakistan or call it a divine test of faith from God. The so-called leaders are neither leading nor regulating the situation. The country is 140th in the world for rainfall and there are 139 countries, including Columbia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Bhutan etc ahead of Pakistan in receiving more rains but none of them has finessed severe floods merely because of precipitation. Even if the average rainfall is taken into account, Pakistan is below around half of the world. It is high time to re-visit the governance structure and the skimping of the natural and human resources. The government needs to think of a solution and stop political hocus-pocus as the country is already in a triple environmental and planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change and has lost several thousand acres of precious forest this year due to anthropogenic and natural activities.
To reduce the destruction brought on by the monsoon season in Pakistan, proper weather forecasting systems, pre- and post-monsoon plans, and the implementation of the Climate Change Act 2017 are required. Pakistan has to develop modern strategies for monsoon risk mitigation and a new approach to managing climate-induced disasters and strengthening the Six-step community resilient cycle: Preparation; Response; Recovery; Assessment, Planning; and Prevention. Besides, taking responsibility is key to a prosperous future.
The writer is Research Associate (Sustainable Development Policy Institute) and can be contacted at nudratfatima