islamabad - Senator Pakistan People’s Party, Sherry Rehman yesterday lamented that Pakistan was among the most climate stressed countries in the world.
Speaking at Senate Standing Committee meeting on Climate Change, the PPP vice-president said Pakistan ranked third among the most climate stressed countries despite the fact that its own carbon emissions fell below one percent.
Pakistan is at risk in part because of its geographic location – wedged between India and China, two industrialized countries whose carbon emissions are among the worst in the world.
“Pakistan and India’s climate change factors are different,” said Senator Rehman. “Pakistan’s climate change is linked with glacial melt that’s happening at a rapid pace up north.”
Between 1994 and 2013, climate change cost Pakistan $4 billion a year on average. According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, by 2050, the average cost of climate change adaptation for Pakistan will be between $6 to $14 billion annually, and an additional $17 billion for mitigation.
“According to a recent report, which I have submitted an adjournment motion on as well,” she said, “Pakistan will become water scarce country in just four years.”
The senator said that the responsibility of mitigating the effects of climate change, or at least learning to cope with them, lies with the government and relevant ministries. “While the ministry for climate change is linked with the Met office, they are not the same,” she said. “NDMA’s mandate is post disaster – the met office’s linkage with Climate Change ministry is necessary now.”
She questioned what the government is doing for disaster prevention instead of disaster management. “We don’t know what reaction to the monsoon we will have this year – for a country that is ravaged by floods each year, Pakistan is always surprisingly unprepared,” she declared.
The senator called for the ministries to work on an emergency basis before, and not after the floods hit. She also submitted recommendations for formulating a plan and mitigating after-effects of natural disasters, as well as for better coordination.
Senator Rehman recommended that met office should be brought under the umbrella of Climate Change ministry, a detailed water stress briefing and quarterly impact report from the ministry should be presented, Ministry of Climate Change should formulate regular reports on climate change & weather preparedness, ministries related to climate change should make institutional mechanism of coordination, & constitute a body, Policy documentation & metrics of performance should be presented in this committee quarterly, there should be a dotted line mechanism in the climate change ministry and climate change minister should attend standing committee meetings.