Investment on climate change

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PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who visited Gilgit-Baltistan on Friday to review the rescue and relief activities as well as examine the magnitude of losses caused by flash floods, has announced a Rs3 billion rehabilitation grant for flood-affected people in GB.

On the occasion, the PM announced plans and programmes on behalf of the Federal Government for prompt relief and rehabilitation of the affected people besides reconstruction of damaged roads.

Gilgit-Baltistan is directly related to the ongoing natural calamity in different parts of Pakistan as its melting glaciers are among the major causes of flooding and the resultant loss.

The Prime Minister has done well by visiting the region and directing agencies concerned to strengthen relief and rehabilitation efforts as it would give a sense of satisfaction to people living in far-flung areas and affected badly by rains and floods.

However, we hope the authorities concerned must have briefed him about the real causes of the catastrophe and the need for long-term investment to tackle the challenge of climate change, which is assuming menacing dimensions with implications for the overall economy and agriculture.

The northern region is sometimes referred to as the ‘third pole’ – it contains more glacial ice than anywhere in the world outside of the polar regions but it is melting at a fast pace due to global warming, which is also causing more rains because of more evaporation.

There is a sense of injustice in Pakistan as the country is responsible for less than 1% (0.4% to be precise) of the world’s plant-warming gases but its geography makes it eight more vulnerable nation to the climate crisis, paying a hefty price not only with lives but also destroyed schools, homes, roads, bridges and agricultural land.

The scenes of devastation that the world is witnessing in Pakistan these days owe their existence to 1.2 degrees Celsius of global warming since industrialization but the world is on track for warming of more than two degree Celsius with scientists warning that every fraction of a degree of warming will worsen the impact of the crisis.

The issue has been highlighted by CNN, BBC and Amnesty International as well but one wonders why we could not sensitize the international community about effects of the climate change on Pakistan and the urgent need for provision of resources not just for adaptation to the climate change but also to tackle the consequences of this extreme change.

We have a full-fledged ministry and it should carry out a comprehensive study on the subject and its findings should form a concrete basis for taking up the issue in earnest with the world community.

Unfortunately, bilateral and multilateral donors have so far been showing reluctance to provide finances for water storages because of regional and global politics despite the fact that such reservoirs have an established role in minimizing the damage.

Building of dams and diversion of courses of rivers, where possible, should be part of the study and the future action plan.

 

 

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