Pakistan faces crisis as global temperature rises

Pakistan is an autonomous country that occupies a strategic location in South Asia, with a wide variety of landscapes. The major portion of the Pakistani land is dry and barren, mainly because of the great variability in the climatic parameters. Most Parts of Pakistan are Arid to Semi Arid with significant spatial and temporal variability in climate.

According to IPCC (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change), the developing and the least developed countries are expected to suffer more due to climate change as compared to the developed countries. Pakistan lies in a geographical region where the temperature increases are expected to be higher than the global average; its land area is mostly arid and semi-arid, its rivers are predominantly fed by the Hindu Kush-Karakorum & Himalayan glaciers which are reported to be melting rapidly due to global warming; its predominantly an agricultural country and hence highly climate sensitive; thus, the country faces increasingly large risks of variability in monsoon rains, hence large floods and extended droughts.

Water security, flood security and energy security of the country are under serious threat. The Indus Delta is already located in the intense heat zone and any rise in temperature would impact human health. Pakistan is no stranger to climate change – it is among the most vulnerable, ill-equipped and ill-prepared countries to deal with climate change.

The most recent scientific assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the global average surface temperature on Earth will increase by 1 to 3.5°C (about 2 to 6°F) by the year 2100, with an associated rise in sea level of 15 to 95 cm (about 6 to 37 inches). Pakistan and the Indus Delta in particular would experience a 4 to 6 °C rise in temperature by that time on an average 0.5 °C rise per decade.

Climate Scientists recommend the world to take serious actions to limit emissions of greenhouse gases and keep the average global temperature below 1.5°C. In the case of Pakistan, even before reaching this threshold, the climate crisis in the region is already at an alarming level. Pakistan cannot afford a temperature rise above 1.5°C as it will increase its vulnerabilities many fold.