Beyond temperature rise


Pakistan, like many other countries across the globe, has been grappling with the consequences of human-induced environmental degradation and the changing weather patterns, which have emerged as two intertwined and the most trying challenges of our time. The far-reaching impacts of these phenomena have not only resulted in severe ecological imbalances and resource scarcity, they have also widened the existing socio-economic divide within the nation. With its diverse geography and agricultural potential, Pakistan has always been dependent on its natural resources. However, rapid deforestation, land degradation and over exploitation of water resources have significantly diminished the availability and quality of essential resources. Climate change-induced events such as droughts, floods and erratic rainfall patterns have further strained the already limited resources, leading to heightened competition among various sectors of society.
According to a recent report by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), the impacts of climate change extend beyond temperature fluctuations and hydrological cycles. Its catastrophic consequences jeopardize food and livelihood, human security, exacerbating socio-economic divide and triggering conflicts over shared resources, particularly among violent non-state actors (VNSAs). Based on in-depth research and the Centre’s independent findings emanating from discussions and interviews with experts, the report concludes with robust policy recommendations for immediate action to address these pressing issues and calls upon the international community to recognize the severity of climate change as a paramount threat to Pakistan’s national security.
The report urges policymakers and stakeholders to take actionable measures such as prioritizing climate-resistant infrastructure and socio-economic welfare, improving disaster preparedness and healthcare facilities, integrating green infrastructure in urban planning, promoting sustainable transportation and renewable energy. It is obvious that changing weather patterns also disproportionately affect marginalized communities and vulnerable populations, deepening the socio-economic divide in Pakistan and other nations. Floods and heat waves, intensified by climate change, wreak havoc on their lives, leading to displacement, loss of livelihoods and increased poverty levels.
Access to basic services such as clean water, food security, and healthcare is also compromised by environmental degradation. The scarcity and contamination of water resources directly affect communities, especially those residing in rural areas, who rely on agriculture for their subsistence. Lack of access to clean water and nutritious food contributes to malnutrition and weakens the health of vulnerable populations, perpetuating the cycle of poverty. The nexus between environmental degradation, changing weather patterns, and socio-economic divide is a critical issue faced by Pakistan and many other nations. By recognizing the inter-connectedness of these challenges and taking proactive steps towards sustainable development and inclusive policies, it is possible to mitigate the adverse impact.
Addressing the multifaceted challenges of environmental degradation and changing weather patterns requires collective action at local, national, and international levels. Timely and effective measures are crucial to mitigate losses, build resilient infrastructure and safeguard the well-being of the nation.