Does Climate Change Matter in Pakistan? (W-58)

Does Climate Change Matter in Pakistan? (W-58)

Publication details

  • Monday | 01 Jan, 2001
  • Shaheen Rafi Khan
  • Working Papers
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Shaheen Rafi Khan, SDPI 2001 Introduction Pakistan is both energy deficient and energy profligate. These aspects define the energy-environment nexus and establish its national versus global context. Energy inefficiency tends to have direct and adverse environmental consequences. To the extent that Pakistan is energy deficient, -- and this is almost a tautology -- it falls in that category of developing countries which contribute relatively little to global warming but are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Such vulnerability, however, is primarily rooted in socio-economic factors, with potential climate change impacts -- either harmful or benign -- being incremental in character. While this is true of secular impacts, extreme events (droughts, floods, storms) are presumed to have more far-reaching impacts and should be researched. The paper has three related parts. The first part reviews patterns of energy consumption in Pakistan and the ensuing direct environmental impacts. The macro-indicators of energy consumption are examined and separated by their constituent elements, namely, by fuel source. The second part presents forecasts of energy demand. Collateral emissions are also estimated, reflecting global concerns. The third part examines biophysical and socio-economic impacts of climate change in Pakistan, with a focus on the three related sectors of water, agriculture and forestry.  Socio-economic vulnerabilities are juxtaposed with climate change impacts for a more holistic view of the problem. The paper concludes with some observations on the North-South debate on climate change. In particular, it re-visits the issue of national versus global guilt and concludes that over the next half century the potential impacts of climate change on the economy will largely be governed by national policies affecting Pakistan's demography, agriculture, infrastructure, forest resources and health.