Looming threat of climate change in Pakistan
Looming threat of climate change in Pakistan
Muhammad Jehangir Kakar
Pakistan is threatened with the challenges of climate change. Be it global standing or regional vulnerability caused due to climatic threats, Pakistan is on crossing the red line. This is so alarming as much as it is so interesting. Is there someone looking after climate change at the provincial or federal level in Pakistan? There is none!
Ministry of Climate Change at the federal level is downplayed to act only as a regulator and one that has the technical capacity to still maneuver only unto the limitations of checking the quality of ambient airs.
Similarly, at all the provincial levels, there are environmental protection agencies that look after the conformity of environmental regulations in various sectors contributing to certain types of pollutions. These provincial agencies act as regulators and with a stick they enforce the environmental laws which can cater for only a limited version or a speck of what forms the big idea of climate change. At the provincial levels like at the federal level, there is no agency that is technically sound, composed of such professionals and equipped with such facilities as to counter the grand horror of climate change.
No climate change data being collected at the provincial level
As for the data and statistics, there is as much fragmentation and silos-approach as much it is in the intergovernmental coordination mechanism. The question is not of the dearth of ampleness of data however it is how the data is made meaningful. Not at any provincial-level one could ensure that any climate-oriented data is being collected. The aforementioned agencies only ensure the quality of air by recording the various gaseous emissions in the ambient airs. The Pakistan Metrological Centers throughout the country pick up conventional weather data by various means but is hardly translated into making a meaningful statement on where we stand on climate change.
As for policies, laws, rules and regulations, we are more affluent than the developed nations. When it comes to drafting policies, odes are worth writing to our expertise but when given to see them on the ground being implemented; only darkened eulogies are symphonized at shrieks ad infinitum. The laws are being multiplied each day and have become as difficult as to remember the exact number of laws on one single sector.
The National Climate Change Policy 2012 remains a document of the past being pushed to nullity though it was the vital document that elevated the Division of Climate Change to a Ministry level yet the promising implementation never has come off until this date. Though a devolved subject yet the NCCP grants the legitimacy to the Ministry of Climate Change to wreathe all the provinces together in one garland of beautiful working and legal integration to manage the national issue of climate change.
The Climate Change Act 2017 was another move towards climate consolidation that promised to establish the Pakistan Climate Change Authority, Climate Change Council, and Climate Change Fund all of which were last time seen in 2017 when the said Act was passed. The vision 2030 remains a virgin vision thus far.
Ministry of Climate Change must realize that it is the organization at the federal level entirely responsible for catering for climate change affairs. The integration of such a central body with the provinces would be the next challenge given to over politicization of everything. Climate is something which should not be made political though globally it is something which has become an element of political decisiveness as in the Biden-Trump thaw.
Nature and nurture along with the potential of Pak-Met office and reach are to be integrated and enhanced fully at the federal and provincial levels with the climate change organizations so formed above. The data and statistics need to be enhanced and made up to the mark as being internationally acceptable with proper transcriptions and applications of data. A lot must be done to keep the generalists away from making any decisions and calling the shots and the professionals are given the entry who have both the capacity and the legitimacy.
We still need someone who will look after climate change in Pakistan!
The author is a Civil Servant based in Quetta, Balochistan
He can be contacted at …[email protected]