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CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather over


periods of time that range from decades to millions of years. It can be a
change in the average weather or a change in the distribution of weather
events around an average (for example, greater or fewer extreme weather
events). Climate change may be limited to a specific region, or may occur
across the whole Earth. The climate change was the biggest
environmental threat in the modern times and was likely to have profound
consequences for the socio-economic sectors such as health, food
production, energy consumption and security and natural resource
management. And It

is already happening and represents one of the greatest environmental,


social and economic threats facing the planet.

In recent usage, especially in the context of environmental policy, climate


change usually refers to changes in modern climate. It may be qualified as
anthropogenic climate change, more generally known as "global warming"
or "anthropogenic global warming" (AGW).

Climate includes patterns of temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind


and seasons. "Climate change" affects more than just a change in the
weather, it refers to seasonal changes over a long period of time. These
climate patterns play a fundamental role in shaping natural ecosystems,
and the human economies and cultures that depend on them.

Because so many systems are tied to climate, a change in climate can


affect many related aspects of where and how people, plants and animals
live, such as food production, availability and use of water, and health
risks.

For example, a change in the usual timing of rains or temperatures can


affect when plants bloom and set fruit, when insects hatch or when
streams are their fullest. This can affect historically synchronized
pollination of crops, food for migrating birds, spawning of fish, water
supplies for drinking and irrigation, forest health, and more.

The Earth's climate has changed over the last century and there is new
and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed in the last 50
years is due to human activities.

While climate change is a global issue, it will affect us all. Climate change
has the potential to adversely affect our environment, our communities
and our economy unless we take greenhouse gas emissions and prepare
for the impacts.

Definition:
The most general definition of climate change is a change in the statistical
properties of the climate system when considered over periods of decades
or longer, regardless of cause. Accordingly, fluctuations on periods
shorter than a few decades, such as El Niño, do not represent climate
change.

The term sometimes is used to refer specifically to climate change caused


by human activity; for example, the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change defines climate change as "a change of climate which is
attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the
composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural
climate variability observed over comparable time periods." In the latter
sense climate change is synonymous with global warming.

Global Warming:

Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth's near-


surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected
continuation. Global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ±
0.32 °F) between the start and the end of the 20th century. The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that most of
the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century
was very likely caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases
resulting from human activity such as fossil fuel burning and
deforestation.

An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will
change the amount and pattern of precipitation, probably including
expansion of subtropical deserts. sWarming is expected to be strongest in
the Arctic and would be associated with continuing retreat of glaciers,
permafrost and sea ice. Other likely effects include changes in the
frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, species extinctions,
and changes in agricultural yields. Warming and related changes will vary
from region to region around the globe, though the nature of these
regional variations is uncertain.

Are climate change and global warming the same thing?

Not exactly, but they’re closely related, and some people use the terms
interchangeably. Global warming causes climates to change. "Global
warming" refers to rising global temperatures, while “climate change”
includes other more specific kinds of changes, too. Warmer global
temperatures in the atmosphere and oceans leads to climate changes
affecting rainfall patterns, storms and droughts, growing seasons,
humidity, and sea level.

Also, while “global warming” is planet-wide, “climate change” can refer to


changes at the global, continental, regional and local levels. Even though
a warming trend is global, different areas around the world will
experience different specific changes in their climates, which will have
unique impacts on their local plants, animals and people. A few areas
might even get cooler rather than warmer.

Effects of Global Warming & Climate


Changes
Over 100 years ago, people worldwide began burning more coal and oil for
homes, factories, and transportation. Burning these fossil fuels releases
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These
added greenhouses gases have caused Earth to warm more quickly than it
has in the past.

How much warming has happened? Scientists from around the world with
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tell us that during
the past 100 years, the world's surface air temperature increased an
average of 0.6° Celsius (1.1°F). This may not sound like very much change,
but even one degree can affect the Earth. Below are some effects of
climate change that we see happening now.

• Sea level is rising. During the 20th century, sea level rose about 15 cm
(6 inches) due to melting glacier ice and expansion of warmer seawater.
Models predict that sea level may rise as much as 59 cm (23 inches)
during the 21st Century, threatening coastal communities, wetlands, and
coral reefs.

• Arctic sea ice is melting. The summer thickness of sea ice is about half
of what it was in 1950. Melting ice may lead to changes in ocean
circulation. Plus melting sea ice is speeding up warming in the Arctic.

• Glaciers and permafrost are melting. Over the past 100 years, mountain
glaciers in all areas of the world have decreased in size and so has the
amount of permafrost in the Arctic. Greenland's ice sheet is melting faster
too.

• Sea-surface temperatures are warming. Warmer waters in the shallow


oceans have contributed to the death of about a quarter of the world's
coral reefs in the last few decades. Many of the coral animals died after
weakened by bleaching, a process tied to warmed waters.

• Heavier rainfall cause flooding in many regions. Warmer temperatures


have led to more intense rainfall events in some areas. This can cause
flooding.

• Extreme drought is increasing. Higher temperatures cause a higher rate


of evaporation and more drought in some areas of the world.

• Ecosystems are changing. As temperatures warm, species may either


move to a cooler habitat or die. Species that are particularly vulnerable
include endangered species, coral reefs, and polar animals. Warming has
also caused changes in the timing of spring events and the length of the
growing season.

• Hurricanes have changed in frequency and strength. There is evidence


that the number of intense hurricanes has increased in the Atlantic since
1970. Scientists continue to study whether climate is the cause.
• More frequent heat waves. It is likely that heat waves have become
more common in more areas of the world.

• Warmer temperatures affect human health. There have been more


deaths due to heat waves and more allergy attacks as the pollen season
grows longer. There have also been some changes in the ranges of
animals that carry disease like mosquitoes.

• Seawater is becoming more acidic. Carbon dioxide dissolving into the


oceans, is making seawater more acidic. There could be impacts on coral
reefs and other marine life.

Impact Of Climate Changes In Pakistan:

How Climate Change Is Impacting Pakistan:


Pakistan is home to some of the worlds most beautiful and varied
landscapes and wildlife. However, like many countries, Pakistan is
experiencing the effects climate change. The world is becoming warmer.
Over the past 200 years average temperature of the earth's surface has
risen by 0.74 degrees C. It is expected to increase by another 1.8° C to 4°
C by the year 2100. The primary explanation for the rise in temperature is
human activities. The growing rate of industrialization, the burning of
greater quantities of fossil fuels (e.g.: coal, gas and oil) and the
unchecked destruction of forest cover has resulted in increased levels of
Carbon-dioxide (CO2) being emitted into the atmosphere. This carbon
covers the earth, trapping its heat, causing global warming.

In Pakistan a number of indigenous species of plants and animals are


facing extinction as a result of climate change. Rising sea levels, and
accelerated melting of glaciers in the Himalayas are threatening the
natural habitat of rare animals such as the Markhor and Ibex. Pakistan
depends heavily on Kashmir’s water for agricultural irrigation. As global
warming hastens glacial melting, it changes the flow patterns of the
glacier-fed rivers that flow into Pakistan. Apart from the change in
volume, the water is reaching the country’s fields at the wrong
time.Climate change is also causing dramatic changes in weather patterns
such as increased droughts and flooding, and changes in freshwater
supply. In the plains the Blind Dolphin is threatened by extinction due to
declining water levels in the Indus River. While along the coastal areas
rare coral reefs which sustain hundreds of species of marine life are
threatened as a direct result of increased surface temperatures.

Changes in ocean circulation, in the atmospheric concentrations of


greenhouse gases or haze particles, and in the ice cover, have been
invoked to explain the drastic change in weather and temperature
patterns over the years. Like all over the world, in Pakistan too, these
changes have resulted from the effects of human activities and the
destruction of the earth's protective ozone layer. Although human induced
warming is among the most pervasive threats to the web of life, the
burning of fossil fuels ; coal, gas and oil, is dangerous too, as it releases
Carbon-dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. This carbon blankets the earth,
trapping its heat, and causing global warming.

This global warming is causing damage to Pakistan's environment, as well.


Among the impacts felt and seen are biodiversity loss, rise in the sea
level, increased draught, shifts in the weather patterns, increased
flooding, changes in freshwater supply and an increase in extreme
weather events. These could also lead to alterations in forests and crop
yields. Not only that, climatic changes could also affect human health,
animals and many types of eco-systems.

By disrupting the entire ecosystem, climate change ultimately affects the


way millions of Pakistanis live. However, there is still hope, if we take
urgent action to control climate change now. Youth, are the future and
have the most at stake. They can play an important role in helping bring
about this change.

The risks of climate change for Pakistan:

• Changing weather patterns, such as increased flooding, droughts,


changes in freshwater supply and an increase in extreme weather events

• Reduced Agricultural output

• Himalayan Glaciers melting rapidly

• Increased air pollution in Pakistani cities such as Karachi and Lahore


• Biodiversity loss: hundred of rare plants and animals in danger of
extinction

• Increased health risks

• Extinction of rare plant and animal life

• Increased exposure to extreme weather events

• Heightened water insecurity

• Reduced agricultural productivity

Effects of Climate Change on Pakistan:


Despite the fact that Pakistan contributes only 0.43 per cent of the
world’s total Greenhouse Gases and is 135th in world’s ranking, yet it is
faced with severe climate changes. Pakistan is among the countries which
will be hit hardest by effects of climate change even though it contributes
only a fraction to global warming. A recent report has described Pakistan
as the 12th most vulnerable country. Pakistan was already witnessing
severe pressures on natural resources and environment.

Impacts of climate change are evident in Pakistan which is facing multiple


threats from climate change. Agriculture sector is one example where low
productivity, water shortage, mismanagement etc are further worsening
the situation. Studies show that wheat and rice production will decline due
to climate change. Water supply, already a serious problem in many parts
of the country, will decline dramatically, affecting food security. Yearly.
while the crop productivity is expected to decline due to climate change.
This challenges our food security plans and deserve immediate action to
avert poverty and food shortage. The fragile ecosystem of coastal belt is
under severe threat due to climate change. Fourteen cyclones are
recorded from 1970 to 2001 on Sindh coast. Mangrove , large tropical
evergreen tree, genus Rhizophora, that grows on muddy tidal flats and
along protected ocean shorelines. Mangroves are most abundant in
tropical Asia, Africa, and the islands of the SW Pacific. forests have
declined from 260,000 hectares in 1970 to just 86,000 hectares in Sindh
(95%) and Balochistan (5%) coast. Mangroves absorb 70-90% of wave
energy and effectively stop sea encroachment in deltaic region. The sea
has encroached in Indus delta spoiling around 2 million fertile land in
districts Badin and Thatta. The fact that Pakistan is not a polluter yet it is
on top hit list of 12 countries to be among the hard hit countries due to
climate change. Among the most effective measures to face the climate
change are i) Mitigation ii) Adaptation iii) Capacity Building and iv)
Mainstreaming.

Export industries such as fisheries will also be affected due to the


pollution. Coastal areas are also at risk of being inundated, flooding the
homes of millions of people living in low-lying areas. Droughts in 1999 and
2000 caused sharp declines in water tables and dried up wetlands,
severely degrading ecosystems. Although Pakistan contributes least to
global warming one 35th of the world’s average of carbon dioxide
emissions temperatures in the country’s coastal areas have risen since the
early 1900s from 0.6 to 1 degree centigrade largely due to the
degradation of the mangrove forest. Precipitation has decreased 10 to 15
per cent in the coastal belt and hyper arid plains over the last 40 years
while there is an increase in summer and winter rains in northern
Pakistan. The level of air pollution in Pakistan’s large cities is estimated
to be 20 percent higher than international standards.

Although Pakistan produces minimal chlorofluorocarbons and a little


sulphur dioxide emissions, thus making a negligible contribution to ozone
depletion and acid rain, it will suffer disproportionately from climate
change and other global environmental problems. Health of millions would
also be affected with diarrhoeal diseases associated with floods and
drought becoming more prevalent. Intensifying rural poverty is likely to
increase internal migration as well as migration to other countries. Given
the enormity of the impact, adaptation and mitigation measures are
critically important.
Pakistan’s economic system has suffered greatly due to climatic change;
one such example is that of Keti Bandar; one of the richest port in the
region of the coastal belt of Pakistan that lost privileges of being at some
point in time. The former port facilities bordered both shores of the Indus
River delta but have become submerged as a result of coastal erosion,
leaving only a thin, 2km long isthmus by way of a land bridge to the
mainland . There was a time when it was known to be an area thriving on
mangroves ecosystem, rich with agriculture and boasting a busy seaport.
Now the landscape is barren and thatched houses dotted on mudflats.
Water logging and salinity is its major problem and the intruding sea has
almost eaten up the villages. Thousands of peasant families and fisher
folk community already had to migrate to other areas in search of
livelihood.

So grave is the situation now in the same region that cyclones often visit
the coastline and their intensity has increased many times more. Poor
peasant and fisher folk communities always hit hard by these cyclones.
The blame relies on the fact that the community residing in Keti Bandar is
threatened with global climatic change. The coastal area is said to be
most vulnerable to climate change with rising sea surface temperatures
and atmospheric water vapor causing an increase in cyclone intensity and
rainfall.

When it comes to climate change population does matter, particularly for


countries like Pakistan with an annual growth rate of 2.69 percent, will be
the sixth most populous country. As poor families struggle to survive,
environmental degradation is going to be more pervasive. Long-term
sustainable development goals are disregarded in favor of immediate
subsistence needs, leaving vulnerable communities specially women at
the mercy of climate. Increased use of wood for fuel, abusive use of land
and water resources, in the form of overgrazing, over fishing, depletion of
fresh water and desertification- are common in rural areas of Pakistan.

In developing countries like Pakistan, women are already suffering


disproportionately; as a consequence of climate change. Local
environmentalists estimate that 70 per cent of the poor, who are far more
vulnerable to environmental damage, are women. Therefore, women are
more likely to be the unseen victims of resource wars and violence as a
result of climate change. We witnessed this phenomenon in years 1999
and 2000 when thousands of poor families had to flee from drought-hit
areas of Balochistan, the most backward province of Pakistan. Women and
children were seen the most suffered sections.

Like other poor countries, climate change is harder on women in Pakistan


as well, where mothers have to stay in areas hit by drought, deforestation
or crop failure. Many destructive activities against the environment
disproportionately affect them, because most women in Pakistan are
dependent on primary natural resources: land, forests, and waters. In case
of droughts they are immediately affected, and usually women and
children can’t run away. Men can trek and go looking for greener pastures
in other areas and sometimes in other countries ... but for women, they’re
usually left on site to face the consequences. When there is deforestation,
when there is drought, when there is crop failure, it is the women and
children who are the most adversely affected.

While women are the main providers of food in Pakistan, they face
barriers to the ownership and access to land. 67 percent of women are
engaged in agriculture related activities but only 1 per cent own land.
When hit by the negative impact of climate change, women lose at the
same time their livelihood means and their capacity to cope after a
disaster. As a result of climate change, domestic chores such as collecting
water and firewood become more burdensome and time consuming. As
girls commonly assist their mothers in performing these tasks, there is
less time left for school or any other economic activity.

The recent data shows that due to climate change major crops yield in
Pakistan has declined by 30% (Lead, 2008). Experts are of the opinion that
Climate Change is enhancing the susceptibility of agriculture zones to
floods, drought and storms. It is pertinent to mention that the agriculture
is the single largest sector in Pakistan’s economy, contributing 21 per
cent to the GDP and employing 43 per cent of the workforce (Lead, 2008)
of which female are in majority.

There is a common perception that ‘it is men who are the farmers’.
Contrary to this perception, women in Pakistan produce 60-80 percent of
food consumed in the house (IUCN, 2007). In Pakistan, especially in the
mountainous regions, men out-migrate for livelihood opportunities (from
50% to 63% of the households) (WB, 2005) and it is the women who looks
after the family’s agriculture piece of land along with many other
responsibilities. It is interesting to note how much work female household
members contribute outside their homes, but their work is generally less
visible and attracts less public recognition. The rise in temperature is
going to affect the farming communities in Pakistan as a whole, but will
have severe impacts on individuals/households specially women, who are
socially, politically and economically more vulnerable.

In nutshell climate change could hamper the achievement of many of the


Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including those on poverty
eradication, child mortality, malaria, and other diseases, and
environmental sustainability. Much of this damage would come in the form
of severe economic shocks. In addition, the impacts of climate change will
exacerbate existing social and environmental problems and lead to
migration within and across national borders of Pakistan.The Climate
change is an economic and developmental problem as well as achieve
desired outcome to mitigate climate change.

Climate Change Impacts: How Ready is Pakistan?

Climate changes have started adversely affecting the overall quality of life
in the country in the form of reduced agriculture productivity, increased
human morbidity and stressed use of natural resources. It is an issue that
is being addressed at every level of government and society these days.
International treaties are in negotiation, federal, provincial/state and local
government studies are being conducted to find out different response
strategies. In developing countries, such as Pakistan, climate change
poses a serious challenge to its social, environmental and economic
development. The rapid changes in the climate (e.g. temperature/extreme
events) present a challenge to develop climate change response
mechanisms in Pakistan. The people in Pakistan, like many other
developing countries, are considered ‘vulnerable’ to the impacts of
climate change. Purpose:The purpose of this paper is to review the
climate variability and its impacts in Pakistan, and to find out the best
possible ways for reducing the vulnerability of its population from the
climatic hazards. Methodology/Approach:

The methodology was designed by taking the concept of ‘adaptive


governance’ (in the context of climate change) and applying this at the
‘local government level’ in Pakistan. This approach helped in finding out
the key climate change response mechanism for reducing the vulnerability
of Pakistani community. The media Of Pakistan should play its role in
capacity building to create awareness among masses on the ill effects of
climate change and measures to face the disasters.

Climate Change Cost Pakistan $3.5 Billion in 18 Years:


Climate change in South Asia has impacted on Pakistan a loss of around
$3.57 billion over the past 18 years, according to a World Bank report. The
report alarms Pakistan of the existence of five major risks related to
climate change/global warming and potentially risking half of the
country’s population.

The report, released on Tuesday (December 08, 2009), warns of disasters


in five main areas: rise in sea level, glacial retreat, floods, higher average
temperatures, and high frequency of droughts. Around 23% of the
country’s land and nearly 50% of the entire population is vulnerable to the
damage resulting from these potential disasters. To stop an increase in
harmful carbon emissions that contribute to climatic disasters, Pakistan
and other South Asian countries need to formulate and implement clean
technology policies and turn to environment-friendly energy resources.

Pakistan has huge reserves of coal that are used for running several
industries on local scale in many areas. But emissions from coal
persistently threaten the atmosphere with emissions that lead to
escalating the greenhouse effect. The World Bank report mentions the
Bank’s interest in developing hydropower capacity in Pakistan and Nepal.
Also, it is suggested to import natural gas from the Middle East for
industrial use instead of using coal, in order to protect the country from
climate-related disaster.