The climate-change emergency
It cannot be said loud enough or often enough that Pakistan is galloping headlong into an emergency that it can do nothing to stop and very little to mitigate — climate change. Despite having a carbon footprint that is minuscule compared to the likes of America, continental Europe or China, Pakistan is in the top five countries that are going to be adversely — which is a polite way of saying disastrously — affected by this. The argument about who or what has caused climate change is academic and for us an irrelevance. The government is gradually waking up to unpleasant realities and the deputy director for the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) says that there is a ‘dire need to adopt measures on a war footing to create awareness among the farming community about the impacts of climate change.’ He is exactly right though whether anybody is listening to him is something of a moot point.
Brutally put, Pakistan stands to see famine and starvation because rising temperatures pose a serious risk to sustainable food security and there is a likelihood that unless changes can be effected then food consumption needs are not going to be met. There is no point in beating about the bush or using euphemistic language. Pakistan is among the countries that are going to see catastrophic consequences if temperatures continue to rise as they have; and there is no indication that the Paris Climate Accords are going to be able to apply the brakes in time to stop millions, many millions, hitting the wall with their feet hard down on the accelerator.
This is not alarmism for the sake of a headline; this is what is going to happen a generation hence. The Asian Development Bank in a new report says that a ‘business as usual approach’ is going to be disastrous for all the Asian countries. It is not wrong. Just how many wake-up calls do we need?