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‘Pakistan must learn to cope with climate change’

‘Pakistan must learn to cope with climate change’

ISLAMABAD: The minister for climate change, on Tuesday, warned that Pakistan’s environment which includes forests, water and land resources as well as glaciers, is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan was speaking to mediapersons at his office, in connection with the International Earth Day, observed on April 22, each year.

He warned that Pakistan’s underground water resources are depleting, rivers are shrinking and glaciers are melting at a very fast rate.

“Unchecked deforestation is leading to land erosion and land sliding and weather patterns are changing to become more erratic, due to global warming,” he said.

The minister said Earth Day is observed to remind people of the importance of the planet they inhabit and the man-made threats it faces.

“This day requires coordinated action at the local, national and global levels to address these threats, for the sake of sustainable survival of life on earth,” he said.

He stressed the need to find ways of coping with the impacts of climate change. “All sectors of the economy, especially agriculture, water, public infrastructure and industry must be made more adaptive to change. This will make the economy climate resilient. These sectors of the economy must be able to survive climate change induced disasters which are expected to occur more frequently in the coming future,” he said.

Senator Mushahidullah Khan noted that policymakers and scientists agree that the impacts of climate change in the form of natural disasters cannot be avoided. “One way to deal with the negative effects of climate change, in particular floods, landslides and land erosion, is to plant more trees,” he said.

He added that more forests should be developed to clean the air, reduce carbon dioxide, provide food and prevent soil erosion.

The senator also discussed water resources on earth and said that freshwater ecosystems, rivers and lakes provide us with drinking water, food, energy, transportation.

“A staggering amount of fresh water is wasted or spoiled each day and experts warn that in the next 20 years, half of the world’s population, including Pakistan, could face grave water shortages,” he said.

“There are practical solutions for freshwater conservation which could ensure our current needs are met and this precious resource is conserved for the future generations. We must take bold action now,” Senator Mushahidullah Khan said.

In a global context, he said, global warming is the biggest risk to life on earth and the intricate ecosystem of the planet.

“There is a need for urgent action to avert looming threats to the planet,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2015

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