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Pakistan’s inconvenient future

June 19, 2013


Climate change induced floods in – 2010 – Pakistan. Heart breaking image of Climate change refugees .

Pakistan is one of the most climate susceptible countries despite the fact that the countries contribution to the total GHG emissions is among the lowest in the world but it remains most vulnerable to its impact. Around 25.7 – 28.3% of Pakistani population lives below the poverty line but the figure is likely to increase as the country braces the worst impacts of climate change.

Pakistan contains Asia’s most spectacular landscapes as it stretches from Arabian Sea, its southern border, to the world’s magnificent mountain ranges in the north. But climate change has consistently manifested itself through extreme events such as the unprecedented floods, droughts, storms, glacial lake outbursts, etc. The economic and social losses for such events have been in millions. In the floods of 2010 & 2011 alone, 20 million people have been affected millions of people and bought severe hardship to Pakistani’s.


Father carries her daughter to safety of high ground in wake of devastating floods that affected majority of Sind in 2011.

Pakistan is already suffering from environmental degradation which costs Rs 365 billion annually to Pakistan in terms of financial damage, if we start considering the economic impact of climate change it would cost Pakistani economy up to $14 billion per year.

Pakistan’s climate change policy authored a report in 2013 that showed the number of heat waves in Pakistan had increased from 1980 to 2009, more intense and extreme precipitation events are likely to occur like the monsoon floods of 2010 & 2011.

Pakistan can expect worse heat waves to come; meteorologists warn recent extreme temperatures that are commonly followed by floods can largely be attributed to climatic warming. The heat wave may have affected people in cities more than in rural areas, partly because of the “heat island effect” which sees temperatures in urban areas 5-8C higher than in the countryside. Urban conditions were particularly bad because the heat wave led to power cuts which in turn led to violent protests. Many families were unable to pump water or run air conditioners.

Research has shown that the number of heat waves in Pakistan had increased from 1980 to 2009 and that average temperature in the Indus delta was steadily rising.

In 2013 the maximum was 51C/52C. The heat wave started on 12 May in Sindh province and gripped the entire country by 15 May but the hottest temperatures were recorded since 1954.

Scientific research has forecasted low agricultural productivity from lack of water for irrigation and erratic rainfall. Conditions in the fertile Indus delta, already facing saline water intrusion and coastal erosion, are expected to deteriorate further. Lack of environmental flows to the deltaic area is likely to expose around 2.26 million people to water scarcity, rising sea levels and food insecurity. Millions of people in Pakistan are likely to be pushed into further poverty because climate change undermining economic development in Pakistan.

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  1. The Future is Now |

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