Increase font size Decrease font size Reset font size

Govt urged to take steps to deal with climate change

By A Reporter 2015-02-18
ISLAMABAD: Human dignity and national honour is compromised in case of a disaster. The government should take stringent measures to meet the challenges of climate change otherwise the nation will face disasters in future.

This was stated by Ali Tougeer Sheikh, a leading expert on climate change issues.

He was speaking at a policy dialogue, `Climate change adoption, water and food security in Pakistan` at the Ministry of Planning and Development on Tuesday.

Mr Sheikh said though there were also advantages of floods, if a nation was not prepared to deal with them, the damages could be widespread.

`Last year, torrential rains in Kashmir led to flooding but we were not ready to deal with them. Moreover, glaciers are melting rapidly due to which in 2050 there will be 50 per cent less water compared to today while the population of Pakistan will be around 350 million,` he said.

He said climate change would also affect the environment and, as a result, health issues would increase. The government will have to spend much more on the health sector.

Even today because of the scarcity of water, options are shrinking for the people who live in the rural areas. So they are migrating towards the cities. The rate of urbanisation in Pakistan is twice compared to the increase in the population, he added.`Currently, energy is a big problem for the country but in future availability of food will also become a big issue because the production of crops will decrease due to the shortage of water.

Moreover, 80 per cent of small farmers are cultivating the agricultural land in the country and they don`t have access to varieties of rice and other crops which is increasing their vulnerability.

He said the government should take steps to increase the per-acre production of different crops as has been done in other countries.

Experts say South Asia is expected to incur substantial losses in the agriculture output, to the tune of 10 to 17 per cent, as a result of the increase in the average temperature (2.3 to 4.5 degree Celsius).

Secretary Ministry of Planning and Development Hassan Nawaz Tarar said Pakistan was one of the leading countries which had been facing severe climate change challenges.

`Climate change can lead to loss of lives and property.Since1947,the availabilityof water in Pakistan has been decreased by 400 per cent. If immediate steps are not taken, the agriculture sector, which contributes 21 per cent of the Gross Domestic products (GDP) and 41 per cent of the labour force, will suffer,` he said.

Mark Redwood, programme leader climate change and water at the International Development Research Centre, Canada, said the 2010 flood highlighted serious challenges faced by Pakistan.