Climate change and governmental action

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Attiya Munawer

Pakistan is one of the countries in the world which is going through severe climate change and events. It has not been raining in most parts of the country for the last three months which is affecting the whole country. Farmers are facing difficulties in cultivating crops such as on the one hand it is not raining and on the other hand due to expensive petrol and diesel, it has become cumbersome for farmers to run tube wells as a result, reports are prior coming in that this time cultivation will be on a small area, the effects of which will be borne by the people in the event of a reduction in the next crop and a drastic increase in prices.

There is no doubt that the problems are increasing instead of decreasing across the country. Rising temperature across the country due to lack of rains is also affecting the crops. Wheat crop has been severely affected by the record heat on present year and the country has not been able to produce the required quantity of wheat. There is a shortage of 4 million metric tons and this wheat will have to be imported. The situation may not be a major problem for the government under normal circumstances, but the way Russia is facing the food crisis due to the Ukraine war and the high prices with wheat shortages, importing wheat will only increase the pressure on foreign exchange.

The coalition government was well aware of the changing situation before coming to power, but its main focus was on acquiring values ​​rather than solving public problems, so it focused on political change yet climate change was ignored and all the losses are being borne by the farmers and the people. One of the perspective demonstrates that due to rising temperatures and water scarcity, crops are being damaged while the other scenario highlights the incidence of forest fires is increasing. A large forest of Chalgoza has been burnt to ashes in Balochistan. The forests of Murree have caught fire. One after another forest fires are causing many fears.Pakistan already has a very low forest cover of 2.5%, on which the increasing incidence of forest fires will further affect the environment.

The impact of climate change on agriculture across the country is a call to action for us. If we do nottake immediate steps to address these issues, a major food crisis could ensue. Our governments have focused on building housing societies and roads, bridges in their own interest but in the public interest never paid attention to such important sector as agriculture. They could have earned huge foreign exchange by exporting agricultural products. The priority of our governments is to give NOCs to housing societies rather than agriculture, because the elites who get NOC are sitting in the parliament with them and as out-turn, agricultural areas are rapidly turning into concrete jungles.

It is true that the world is taking serious steps to mitigate climate change, but our rulers are conspiring to get out of the cycle of intervention; with rising public inflation, unemployment and climate change, the impact of food shortages is tormenting the people but the government is stabbing the people with price hikes to please the IMF while showing indifference to everything. The government should focus on climate change by delimiting its focus on political changes in the changing circumstances. Immediate demarcation of cities must be done and put a complete ban on the expansion of mega cities. There should also be a ban on construction on agricultural areas whilst selection of such areas for industrial areas should be done where the lands are not suitable for agriculture. Similarly with the rapid construction of big dams, small dams will have to be constructed as well, otherwise water is not available for agriculture yet and may fall a bombshell of drinking water shortage.

It is noteworthy that the impact of climate change would have made a difference if every government had acted honestly in accordance with its claims. If so many trees were planted across the country under the Billion Tree Project, we would have got positive results from it. May be like every time, this project of ours has become a sight of corruption. Are our drying springs, rise in temperature and change in rainy season and decrease in agricultural commodities,nothing is forcing us to think why the one who thought did not move for practical action and the one who tried to put into practice did not succeed? Aren’t these blessings of nature valuable to us? We have to think and learn from our mistakes, otherwise future generations will face more difficulties and will never forgive us.