Like other parts of the world, Pakistan is also facing consequences of climate change – a long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. This South Asian nation is experiencing a swift rise in temperatures, extreme weather patterns, frequent natural disasters, and melting of glaciers. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan – with more than 7,253 known glaciers – contains more glacial ice than any other country on Earth outside the polar regions. A Pakistan Meteorological Department report showed 0.6 degrees Celsius increase in the average temperature over the past century, with the rate of warming rising in the past few decades.
In Punjab and Sindh provinces, effects of the climate change are particularly noticeable. We may know that spring, summer, autumn and winter are four prominent weather conditions in Punjab and some other areas. But we can notice easily that these four weather have become less defined in recent years, with more prolonged and intense heatwaves and erratic rainfall patterns. Over the past decade, Punjab province has experienced an average temperature increase of 0.9 degrees Celsius, according to government-backed data. This increase in temperature has led to frequent heatwaves, with temperatures reaching up to 50 degrees Celsius in some areas.
‘Increase in temperature has led to frequent heatwaves, with temperatures reaching up to 50 degrees Celsius in some areas’
The experts believe that this increase in temperature has impacted the health and well-being of people, particularly those who work outdoor and openly or do not have access to various technologies to control the temperature, humidity, and purity of the air in an enclosed spaces. In Punjab, it is noticed that the monsoon season has become increasingly unpredictable or uncontainable. While the region typically receives most of its rainfall during the monsoon season, it has been characterized by flash floods and extended dry spells in recent years. It also led to water scarcity and crop failures, affecting the region’s livelihoods.
Recent rainfalls showcase how fast climate is changing and affecting life and life pattern in Punjab and other provinces. It is noticed that the coastal areas are also facing consequences of rising sea levels and increased flooding. On the other hand, the melting of glaciers in the country’s northern regions is affecting the water supply of millions of people, with some estimates suggesting that Pakistan may face a water shortage in the coming years. The increasing temperatures are causing the glaciers to melt alarmingly with Pakistan losing approximately 13.7 billion cubic meters of freshwater yearly due to melting glacier.
‘Pakistan is experiencing adverse effects of climate change with a rise in temperatures, erratic weather patterns, and natural disasters’
The data shows that the melting of glaciers is affecting the Indus River system, the country’s primary source of fresh water. It has led to an increase in groundwater salinity, making it unsuitable for drinking and irrigation purposes. In addition to the environmental impacts of the climate change, the social and economic results are also noteworthy. We can observe that the climate change heightens poverty, affecting the poorest and the most vulnerable populations. In Pakistan, the lack of access to adequate healthcare, clean water, and food exacerbates the impact of climate change on less fortunate communities.
We all know that Pakistan is experiencing adverse effects of the climate change with a rise in temperatures, erratic weather patterns, and natural disasters. With rapid population growth and urbanization, our country is facing the worst air quality for many years. We have to switch energy systems from fossil fuels to renewables will reduce emissions that drive climate change. Besides our government, it requires an energetic, inspiring, and collective effort from all the stakeholders, including individuals, communities, and businesses. By addressing climate change, we can protect our planet and secure a sustainable future for new generations.