Pakistan ranks fifth among countries most vulnerable to climate change: Study

Pakistan ranks fifth among countries most vulnerable to climate change Study

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan ranked fifth among countries, which are most vulnerable to climate change, according to a report released on Wednesday.

According to the Global Climate Risk Index, Pakistan lost 9,989 lives, suffered economic losses worth USD 3.8 billion and witnessed 152 extreme weather events from 1999 to 2018.

Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate change is increasing, the Dawn News quoted the report released by international think-tank Germanwatch.

The data indicates that the Pakistani government is not taking enough measures to cope with the challenges and risks that climate change poses to the country, experts said.

According to the report, Pakistan is among the countries that are “recurrently affected by catastrophes (and) continuously rank among the most affected countries both in the long-term index and in the index for the respective year”.

The think-tank placed Pakistan on the fifth spot in the list of countries most vulnerable to climate change in its annual report for 2020.Apart from Pakistan, the 10 countries most affected by climate change include Puerto Rico (1), Myanmar (2), Haiti (3), Philippines (4), Vietnam (6), Bangladesh (7), Thailand (8), Nepal (9) and Dominica (10).

Out of the 10 countries, seven are developing nations in the low income or lower-middle-income category, two are classified as upper-middle-income countries (Thailand and Dominica) and one is an advanced economy (Puerto Rico).

One of the reasons for Pakistan to be continuously ranked high in the long-term index of the report is mainly due to its geographical location.According to David Eckstein, one of the co-authors of the report, “The entire region where Pakistan is located is prone to extreme weather events, in particular, heavy rainfall (example, during monsoon season) and flooding as a result.”

Commenting on Pakistan’s ranking in the 2020 report, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam Khan said: “Our ranking over the long-term index went up from eight to fifth because the period used amplifies our most climate catastrophic events in 2010/2011 when the super floods hit.”

“In terms of economic costs at USD 3.8 million, we are number three over a 20-year period. What this means is that our economy is constantly at risk from climate catastrophes and this is not just an environmental challenge but an issue impacting our economy, human health, agriculture and ecosystem,” he explained.

Dr Adil Najam, the dean of Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University blames the lack of action taken to combat climate change risks.

“The report clearly indicates that the world hasn’t acted, so the vulnerability of the whole world is increasing, and since Pakistan hasn’t acted, things are worsening for us too,” he said.

Talking about the threat of rapidly melting glaciers that resulted into Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in Pakistan, Najam said, “The glaciers won’t stop melting because there was a beautiful speech.”

He was referring to a recent speech by Prime Minister Imran Khan at the seventh International Union for Conservation of Nature Asia Regional Conservation Forum, where the premier had highlighted the dangers Pakistan faced by climate change, while pointing at measures his government had taken to curb the impact.

For Najam, however, the speech is not good enough. “If we don’t do anything, we should not expect anything to change or become better,” the Dawn quoted him as saying. PTI