LAHORE - Rapid and meteoric alternations in the environment of the world has assumed a magnitude of Himalayan dimensions due to global warming and the entire global community has, though belatedly, joined hands to put a halt to this menace that could seriously endanger the existence of life on this planet.
The unrestricted use of hydrocarbons is rightly considered one of the major factors responsible in creating, shaping and multiplying this monster that is posing an existential threat to the humanity as a whole.
In its recent report, World Wildlife Fund Pakistan chapter, WWF-Pakistan, has termed the rapid climate change as one of the most critical challenges of the modern age. It has said that concerns are being expressed in both developed as well as the developing countries regarding disastrous climate change that are causing global warming throughout the world including Pakistan.
The geophysical features and location of Pakistan make it more vulnerable to the devastating impacts of global warming such as micro-climatic changes, increased cyclones, droughts, sea water intrusion, heavy rains, glacial melts, etc. Apart from these, climate change has such destructive impacts on the human livelihood that may take us by surprise, the report stated.
The Indus River is critical for Pakistan's 170 million people, and irrigates 80% of its 21.5 million of agricultural land. The Indus river delta is a highly productive area for freshwater fauna and an important region for water birds. The Indus River is extremely sensitive to climate change because 60 -70 % of its flow is derived from the Himalayan glaciers. Since temperature controls the rate of glacier melt, which in turn provides more water in warm years and less water in cool years. With global warming, many glaciers will no longer exist to moderate the flow of these rivers. Thus communities which depend on glacier water will face more severe water shortages, variability and potentially greater flooding too.
WWF - Pakistan as country's largest environmental organization strongly believes that Pakistan urgently needs to prepare for the impacts of climate change on freshwater resources and to develop mitigation and adaptation plans by building the institutional capacity to address climate change and water security at the provincial and district (local) level, looking at both maintaining the flow of the Indus and adaptation in particularly vulnerable sites in Pakistan. Addressing climate change in Pakistan will also mean enabling people in particular the most vulnerable and poor, to adapt to changes in water availability.
It is essential that the global community work together to implement emissions reductions. WWF is working to strengthen the ability of developing countries, such as Pakistan to effectively participate in and foster the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) by mobilising relevant and influential stakeholder groups in key countries.
In addition, WWF is implementing a programme to ensure public and private investments in developing countries in the Asia/Pacific region to: support the objectives of the FCCC, support technology transfer, climate change mitigation and impacts awareness raising in Asian developing countries, and create a process of developing country participation in the FCCC process. These efforts involve export credit agency reform to promote clean investment, and strengthening the clean development mechanism to support low-emission technologies.