The ever increasing temperature on the earth is a verification that climate change is gathering pace. In Pakistan, the early summer gives a hint that the country is included in those South Asian states that are vulnerable to climate change and can become a victim of its implications in a quick manner. This is the reason that climate experts issue warnings time and again and a recent seminar organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad also pondered over the ways and means to tackle the climate threat. The discourse around climate change is often underlined with warnings of an impending doom of an unimaginable scale lying in wait for a complacent humanity – warnings that seem too foreboding and too apocalyptic to be true, thereby exacerbating the perilous level of inaction and denial around this most critical issue of our times. It needs to be stated unequivocally that the climate change is real and the existential threat it poses to our planet is no exaggeration. Though, the Earth’s climate has been naturally and constantly changing over time, the rate at which the planet’s average temperature has risen since the ‘industrial revolution’ is alarming and this human-induced warming has thrown the natural fluctuations in temperature worryingly off-balance. Also, changes in climate occur because of alterations in Earth’s energy balance, which result from some kind of external factor or forcing – an environmental factor that influences the climate. The key contributor to this disquieting rise in the Earth’s temperature is the unnatural levels of ‘greenhouse gases’ – gases that trap the sun’s energy in the atmosphere – being emitted into the air due to burning of fossil fuels.
The implications of this accelerated warming would be felt in the form of sweeping changes in food production processes (due to extinction of various plant and animal species) as well as human deaths on a mass scale due to floods, storms, heatwaves and droughts. Basically, the developing countries have long argued that the developed world became ‘developed’ precisely on the back of its industries and the resultant carbon emissions and now that the world was pushing for expensive green technology, the developing countries would suffer more than their developed counterparts and have their progress arrested. In other words, the developed countries created the problem but the less developed ones were being punished. Despite these misgivings, if an internationally-accepted cooperative ideal is implemented, it will be a major, foundational victory and will positively impact the crisis in years to come.
Some international reports termed Pakistan a ‘multi-threat country’ in terms of climate change vulnerability. So it needs to do much more to protect the environment, and the local communities from climate related destructions. In 2021, Pakistan had launched an ‘Eco-System Restoration Fund’ for supporting nature-based solutions to climate change and facilitating the transition towards environmentally resilient initiatives, covering afforestation and biodiversity conservation. Even foreign experts attributed the government’s political will behind the execution of environment-related projects in recent years, which has set Pakistan as an example for the developing world.