Climate is the average weather conditions that stays at a particular region for a period of 11 to 40 years. It includes various factors like air pressure, temperature and wind patterns. Pakistan is a land of high mountains, coastal areas and arid plains. Pakistan stands among the top ten most vulnerable countries to climate change. Over the last two decades extreme weather conditions, unexpected rainfall patterns, and change in length of seasons have been observed.
Some extreme events as a result of climate change:
- High frequency of Monsoon.
- Floods, cyclones, dry winters, extreme low/high temperature.
- Water scarcity and burning heat conditions in arid and semi-arid areas affecting agricultural productivity.
- Deforestation, threats to biodiversity.
- Rise in sea level, turning fresh water of wells and ponds to saline.
- Rapid melting of glaciers.
Global warming is a major threat to climate change. Global climate change has resulted from greenhouse gases which is an accepted reality. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the average earth temperature has increased by 0.6 ° C and is further expected to rise by 1.4 to 5.8 º C by the end of this century. Pakistan ranks 135th on a global scale in terms of GHG, greenhouse gas emission. GHG emission amounted to 308 million in 2008 in Pakistan and these emissions have nearly doubled over the past few years. Still these emissions are 0.8% of the global scale. Now this information clearly conveys a message that GHG are mainly produced by developed countries but their adverse effects are felt globally.
Agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan and its 42% population is associated with this sector. As a result of floods 0.6% million wheat has been damaged across the country. Till now we have lost 1.2 million livestock and 6 million poultry. Our textile industry is badly affected as we have lost 2 billion bales of cotton in floods. Pakistan is one of the main exporter of rice but there has been a downfall in our exports due to loss in crops. Pakistan lost 500,000 tons of sugar in floods. Now the broader effect is felt with the high price of domestic items creating inflation in our country.
More than 2000 people died this summer because of intense heat waves. All years since 2000 have been the warmest years. And the temperature seems to rise every year because of deforestation, expansion of highways and urbanization. Pakistan’s 5000 glaciers are melting rapidly than any other part of the world causing rise in sea level.
Some devastating Pakistan’s historic events:
Over the last two decades, there has been a tremendous rise in the occurrence of extreme events. Some of them are as follows:
- Heavy cyclonic storms in 1999, 2007 and 2010.
- Flooding on large scale in 1992, 1997, 2003, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
- Worst droughts during 1999-2002.
- Droughts in Thar area (Sindh) and Cholistan area (Southern Punjab) in 2014.
- Heat waves in 2003, 2005, 2007and 2010.
- Burst rains causing flooding of Lahore (1996), Karachi (2009) and Islamabad (2001).
Suggestions For COP 21:
COP stands for “Conference of the Parties” and this year in December, it is taking place in Paris with a big bang. This year is special because United Nations is celebrating it’s 70 years of hard work standing up for primary causes like food and education for everyone and raising awareness that climate change should be stopped. Therefore, for this year’s COP 21 I have a few suggestions that I would like to send forward through this platform as the voice of Pakistani youth. Suggestions are as follows:
New reservoirs and dams should be built for storing excessive water. Effective irrigation systems should be adopted on farm. Pakistan is adopting a tri-sector approach targeting specific sectors like energy and transport, industry and waste, agriculture and forestry. Its main aim is to develop some actionable plans.
Try to recycle everything. We should replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Food products should be packed in reusable packaging. People should use fuel efficient cars. Our policy makers and economists need to revise policies for saving ecosystems otherwise neglecting all these climatic hazards will prove costly.
Attention Youth! We can’t wait for the government to take any action for this problem. Each one of us can play a big role by making little contribution. An educated and well informed youth can do wonders for its nation. We should actively participate in campaigns regarding environment and climate to spread awareness among the community. I strongly believe that young people should understand the phenomena of climate change as soon as possible. It will help us to face immediate challenges and assist us in making right career choices. By doing so some businesses will grow while some will decline. By developing new attitudes consumer choices will change and a new global market will be formed.
Suggestions: Here is a list of some simple things that everyone can do.
- Don’t leave electronic items on standby. Computers, monitors, TV should be switched off when not in use.
- A water geyser in winter requires lot of energy to pump and heat water. Save water while shaving, brushing teeth, taking a bath and washing clothes as it would help to conserve energy and reduce gas emission.
- Always use a fuel efficient car. While driving one should go easy on brakes and gas pedals. Avoid hard accelerations. Always use recommended motor oil.
- Give your car a break by using public transport or a bike once or twice a week. While going school, college and office share a ride with someone. Fill your cars with renewable fuels.
- Maintenance is very important either it’s a vehicle or any other electronic appliance such as air conditioner. Cleaning can reduce gas emissions.
- Policy makers should introduce carbon tax (polluters pay per ton of carbon they emit into the atmosphere).
- It’s a common practice here in Pakistan to place fridge and freezer in kitchen. By placing them in a hot kitchen where temperature is already 30-35ºC energy consumption and CO2 emission would be doubled. Place them in a cool room.
- Avoid frozen eatables in tin packaging. Support your local farmers to produce organic food as organic soil has the capability to capture high concentration of CO2. Buy products that can be recycled and reused instead of disposable one.
- Promote tree plantation.
- Use paper for two sided copying and printing. Recycle paper and garbage with the help of community waste management. Don’t burry garbage in mud as it produces methane.
- While investing money, always consider its impact on global warming. Make sure your money is invested in right projects and services that are eco friendly.
By following this we can restore out natural resources, improve the quality of air and help make this planet sustainable for coming generations.