Climate Change and Over Population bigger threat to Pakistan than the Taliban

 

KARACHI: The sprawling megacity lies crumbling, desiccated by another deadly heatwave, its millions of inhabitants suffering life-threatening water shortages and unable to buy bread that has become too expensive to eat.

It sounds like the stuff of dystopian fiction but it could be the reality Pakistan is facing. With its northern glaciers melting and its population surging — the country’s climate change time bomb is already ticking.

In a nation facing violence and an unprecedented energy shortage slowing economic growth, the environment is a subject little discussed. But the warning signs are there, including catastrophic floods which displaced millions, and a deadly heatwave this summer that killed 1,200 people.

Three of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges intersect in Pakistan’s north: the Himalayas, the Hindu Khush and the Karakoram, forming the largest reservoir of ice outside the poles.

The mountain glaciers feed into the Indus River and its tributaries to irrigate the rest of the country, winding through the breadbasket of central Punjab and stretching south to finally merge with the Arabian Sea near Karachi.

The future of Pakistan, a Muslim giant whose population the UN predicts will surge past 300 million people by 2050, can be read in part by the melting of glaciers like Passu, at the gateway to China.

Temperatures in northern Pakistan have increased by 1.9 degrees Celsius in the past century, authorities say, causing “glof” — glacial lake outburst floods, where the dams of such lakes abruptly rupture, sending water cascading down the slopes.

Today, thirty glacial lakes are under observation in the north. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), such mass loss of water is “projected to accelerate throughout the 21st century, reducing water availability, hydropower potential, and changing seasonality of flows in regions supplied by meltwater from major mountain ranges”.

In Pakistan, most of the country is fed by the lush, fertile plains of one such region: Punjab.

Despite its growing population, Pakistan remains self-sufficient in agricultural terms, largely thanks to the rich Punjabi soil. But in recent years the region has seen unprecedented, deadly floods that wipe out millions of acres of prime farmland.

The disasters are caused by monsoon rains, but are a bellwether for the havoc that melting glaciers could cause, with any variation in water levels threatening farmers’ crops.

“When there is too much water it’s not good for rice, and when there is not enough, that’s also bad. And it’s the same for wheat,” says farmer Mohsin Ameen Chattha during a walk through his family land just outside the Punjabi capital of Lahore.

Surplus monsoon water is mostly stored in Pakistan’s two large reservoirs, the Tarbela and the Mangla dams, the supply would hardly last 30 days.

Throughout the rest of the year, farmers rely on the rivers, primarily the glacier-fed Indus, to irrigate their land.

For now, the production of rice and wheat is still rising. But if the glaciers were to one day disappear, “we would be totally dependent on the monsoon. And already it varies,” says Rasul.

“All this has an impact on food security” for the country, he added. If its daily wheat production should no longer suffice, Pakistan would have to begin importing the grain — driving the price of bread up.

The ominous warning signs all culminate around Karachi.

The city draws almost all of its water from the river and already fails to meet even half of the four billion litres a day its inhabitants require, in part because of its inadequate pump network and .

By 2050 the IPCC predicts a decrease in the freshwater supply of South Asia, particularly in large river basins such as the Indus.

That means Karachi will somehow have to manage its growing population with even less water — a population with a significant poverty rate that will also struggle should food prices rise.

To make matters worse, the meteorologist Rasul predicted changes in atmospheric pressure over the Arabian Sea that could reduce the breezes that currently temper the sweltering heat of the port.

In June an unprecedented heatwave took 1,200 lives, mostly in poor neighbourhoods of Karachi — heat traps with their massive concrete buildings, lack of shade, and the absence of aqueducts.

“A calamity is coming,”

 

Original story from: Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/976105/pakistans-climate-change-time-bomb-is-already-ticking/

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7 thoughts on “Climate Change and Over Population bigger threat to Pakistan than the Taliban

  1. I agree with the premise of the article. Short of the Taliban getting their hands on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. With others in the region likely to get nuclear capability’s soon, everything from India to the Mediterranean could likely be in the RED ZONE.
    It might be a possibility that if there were a nuclear fracas, the side effect might be to counteract Global warming.

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  2. Over population will do in humans. The planet will survive, but many species will perish. I believe that mega viruses will evolve and infect people, with no way of fighting them with antibiotics, so humans will die in massive numbers. The plague is coming people and it will not know any boundaries whether rich or poor. So, keep breeding and posting all those cute pics of your gandkids on Facebook, cause the earth they inherit is not going to be so cute!

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  3. The sky is falling, the sky is falling!! Cold War (be afraid), 9-11 (be afraid), war in Afghanistan (be afraid), war in Iraq and Syria (be very afraid), but forget all those fears, and replace with “oh no, the sky is falling due to the climate” and forget all about the fact that the earth has been in warming cycle for last 10,000 years… Even if pollution did create “worse” weather – you’re selling us and our descendants short with the “apocalypse bend over and kiss your ass goodbye” yack 24/7/365. In the sky is falling viewpoint, no one will be able to do anything to “change the inevitable”. Of course not, that’s the point. All this scaremongering is just another apocalypse now, or maybe next week, no wait the year after that – meanwhile dictators are killing innocents and we can blind ourselves to that with an amorphous fear of “global climate change.” Chicken Littles we are, one and all that fall for the fear game and all it’s creeping tentacles of doom.

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  4. Occam:

    I have to give you credit… you’ve used a Climate Change Denier Argument I’ve never heard before:

    Focus on Climate Change allows dictators to go unchecked.

    Brilliant.

    Just one problem with that little gem of reasoning… Dictators have been going unchecked since the first cave man picked up his “generalissimo” wooden club and started to rule his tribe by force.

    Long before “Climate Change” ever became a meme.

    Sorry Occam, your razor’s dull.

    As an additional hint… People studying and working to prevent Climate Change rarely if ever say the process is inevitable. Otherwise we’d just party until the end of the world.

    It’s the deniers who claim climate change inevitability… saying all the warming phenomena is due entirely to natural causes.

    But you are right… all us Climate Change Alarmists. Where do we get off trying to make the world a better place? I am filled with shame.

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    • This is one of those issues have not decided on yet.
      In this discussion let us steer clear from words like “denier, and alarmist”.
      Co2 levels at present are somewhere just under 2%, and experts claim if it goes up we are all in trouble.
      One thing that comes to mind is, we were taught in high school that co2 levels during the Jurassic period were around 7%.
      We were also taught that co2 levels much lower than 1,3% are lethal.

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    • Mola…seems to me that both sides call climate change “inevitable” just that one side calls it the result of humans, the other saying that it’s a naturally occurring cycle.

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    • “As an additional hint… People studying and working to prevent Climate Change rarely if ever say the process is inevitable. Otherwise we’d just party until the end of the world.”

      In Humboldt we “partied” as we used coastal wetland enhancement money- to drain coastal wetlands and ponds.

      https://www.google.com/maps/dir/40.8467206,-124.1784583//@40.8457803,-124.1692189,952m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

      In the link above, follow the Main Trail west from the Montesorri School.

      When you’ve reached the trail-head- look south, that is the result of removing vegetation. We paid millions for this!
      The southern side of the trail was more verdant than the north-side before these projects. With the Primary Dune blown-out it is just a matter of time until Salt-Water Intrusion destroys the
      fresh marshlands and forests inside the fore dune.

      The damage was done with both State and Federal Wetlands Enhancement monies.
      I wonder if
      Mark Lovelace, had this in mind when back-doored these efforts? Anyone want to defend these results?

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