Managing Climate Change

The Pakistan Navy is taking special measures to protect the country’s coastal regions from the ravages of climate change.

By Ali Basit | June 2020

In the current times, climate change is one of the most serious challenges being faced by the world. By definition, climate change is a “long-term change in the earth’s climate, in particular a change due to an increase in the atmospheric temperature.” This phenomenon is thought to be caused by the emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. The dangerous impacts of climate change are unfolding in the form of floods, droughts, cyclones, soil erosion, and rise in sea level and temperature. This affects the marine ecosystem, coastal zones and fish habitats. Importance of the issue can be well perceived from the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s statement at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session on Jan. 22, 2020: “…we face an existential climate crisis. Rising temperatures continue to melt records. The past decade was the hottest on record. Scientists tell us that ocean temperatures are now rising at the equivalent of five Hiroshima bombs a second”.

As per the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the temperature of the Earth may rise between 1.4 to 5.8 degrees before the end of this century. This unprecedented rise in temperature will have devastating effects on not only the global hydrological system, sea level, agriculture and related aspects but also surpass the national security of the affected states. Pakistan is no exception to this phenomenon. In the latest report by the Global Climate Risk Index, Pakistan has been placed at the fifth spot among the countries which have been most affected by climate change during the past two decades. According to the report, the country has suffered economic losses of $3.8 billion and has experienced 152 extreme weather events from 1999 to 2018.

The rise in sea level due to enhanced temperatures is posing a threat to Pakistan’s coastal areas of Balochistan and Sindh. According to an estimate, the sea level rise in these areas is 1.1mm/year due to climate change. Approximately 2 meters rise in sea level may submerge about 7,500 square kilometers in the Indus Delta. Moreover, the National Institute of Oceanography has predicted that if the current trends of sea erosion in the Indus Delta continue, Karachi may sink, which is 8 meters above sea level, by 2060, while Badin and Thatta would drown by 2050.

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