It has been raining in Lahore and other parts of Punjab for over a week. In the last two days, Lahore received over 90mm of rain, which is quite an incident for April in Lahore. Traditionally and ideally, there should have been rains in February to benefit wheat and other crops. But we are living in a climate change era, which is a global phenomenon at large, but it has more of a local context given its adverse effects on Pakistan. Pakistan is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to its geographical location, topography, and socio-economic conditions. The country is already experiencing the adverse effects of climate change, which are expected to worsen in the coming years if no action is taken to mitigate its effects.
Last year, during these months, Pakistan experienced heat waves. One of the most significant impacts of climate change on Pakistan is the increase in temperature. Average temperatures have risen by about 0.6°C over the last century, with the rate of increase accelerating in recent years. This temperature rise has led to more frequent and severe heatwaves, particularly in urban areas, which have resulted in increased mortality rates. The high temperatures have also affected agriculture, with crops being damaged and yields decreasing.
Climate change has also led to changes in precipitation patterns in Pakistan. The country is prone to floods and droughts, and climate change has made these events more frequent and severe. Last year, besides the northern region of Pakistan, which is home to the country’s major river systems, Sindh, south Punjab, and Balochistan experienced more intense rainfall and snowfall, leading to increased flooding. This left a severe impact on agriculture, as crops are destroyed, and infrastructure was damaged.
Another significant impact of climate change on Pakistan is the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas. Pakistan is home to some of the world’s largest glaciers, which provide a vital source of water for the country’s agriculture and hydroelectric power generation. However, the melting of these glaciers is causing increased water flow in the short term, followed by water scarcity in the long term. This is particularly concerning given the fact that Pakistan already faces water scarcity, and the situation is expected to worsen due to population growth and climate change.
The impact of climate change on Pakistan is not limited to the environment; it also has significant economic and social consequences. The most severe of these is the impact on food security, as agriculture is the primary source of income for many people in Pakistan. Climate change has already led to decreased crop yields, and if no action is taken, this could lead to food shortages and increased poverty.
These impacts are expected to worsen in the coming years, leading to increased food insecurity, water scarcity, and economic hardship. It is therefore essential that Pakistan takes urgent action to mitigate the effects of climate change,