Pakistan Climate Change Crisis: Mitigation And Adaptation Strategies And International Response – OpEd


Pakistan is paying for sins that it has not committed. The country is responsible for only 0.88 percent of emissions of CFC gases while, at the same time, it is the 8th most vulnerable country to the calamities caused by climate change. Despite the signings of the Kyoto Protocol 1998 and Paris Climate Change Agreement that envision to provide ample funding to climate vulnerable countries, Pakistan is still short of receiving the required amount from the international community for implementing its mitigation and adaptation policies. 

Climate change has hugely impacted the economic growth of Pakistan. Though, there are more reasons for its economic fragility, at the same time climate change has been one of the disastrous reasons. The World Bank estimates that this dragon could further dent the economy of Pakistan in the future by warning that climate change could diminish the annual GDP of Pakistan by 18% to 20% annually by 2050. 

Flooding has been an area that has devastated almost every sector of the country. Data testifies that since the inception of Pakistan, it has witnessed 28 floods. These floods have been responsible for a loss of billions of dollars to the economy, killing hundreds of livestock and humans, causing food insecurity, and spreading disease. For instance, the flood of 2022 caused $30 billion in loss to the economy and was the deadliest one in history. 

Variation in temperatures, its rise and fall, and droughts (that Pakistan have faced three times in the last ten years), repeated heatwaves, decreases in rice and sugarcane yield production due to a dearth of water and heat sensitivity, impacts on the livestock sector, and rise in sea level, are all the outcomes of climate change that have been further wreaking havoc within the country. 

Pakistan has plausible policies concerning adaptation and mitigation. It is the signatory of the Kyotol Protocol of 1998 and the Paris Agreement which propose providing climate change compensation to most vulnerable countries. To overcome the hazards of climate change the World Bank estimates that Pakistan needs $348 billion for climate and development challenges in the future. This is a huge sum that cannot be provided by the ailing economy of Pakistan. 

Pakistan has proposed strategies concerning adaptation and mitigation to halt the hazards caused by climate change. Its national climate change policy, national forest policy, water policy, protective area initiative of 2020, its blue carbon project, and National Electric Vehicles Policy (NEVP) 2020 speak volumes about Pakistan’s commitment to halt the cataclysms of climate change. 

It has plan to develop 15 model protected areas across the country and expand protected areas to at least 15% of Pakistan’s area by the end of 2023. Pakistan has a framework of preserving rangelands and pastures, arid and hyper-arid zones and Coastal and Marine ecosystems from the calamities. It has a strategy of a 50% emissions reduction target by 2030 and aims to shift to 60% renewable energy, and 30% electric vehicles by 2030. The National Electric Vehicles Policy (NEVP) of 2020, aims to introduce electric vehicles in the country. 

As for as world’s finance to the developing countries, including Pakistan, is concerned, the situation is dismal. Pakistan is a signatory of the Montreal Protocol 1987, Kyoto Protocol 1992, Vienna Convention for the Protection of Ozone Layer, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, is a member of the COP, Paris Climate Conference, and has ratified United Nations framework convention on climate change. This reflects its commitment concerning decreasing the hazards of climate change. 

According to the Express Tribune, the emissions savings of Pakistan are around 737. If true, then the 737 million tons of CO2 savings, and use the lower end of the current price range of $40 per ton of CO2, thenPakistan is entitled to receive $30 billion on an annual basis compensation. As such, Pakistan’s pollution reductions, allow the world to create nearly $2 trillion in economic activity or wealth every year. 

The Kyoto Protocol 1997 and the Paris Climate Agreement envisage to provide aid in compensation to those states that are responsible for less emissions, but are most vulnerable. The Parliamentary Research Digest of June 2019 observes that that the Global Environment Facility had provided Pakistan $234.42 million in total financing and $626.68 million in co-financing by June 2019. This includes financing of projects at national as well as regional/global levels. The GCF dashboard shows that its total funding to Pakistan is $121 million as of August 2020, increasing from $89 million in April 2019. This amount is equal to none as compared to the aforementioned lower production of CFC gases by Pakistan. 

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai

Naseeb Ullah Achakzai is a M.Phil scholar and writes as a freelance columnist.

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