Natural disasters a challenge for Pakistan’s development: WB – Journal

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has declared that climate change and natural disasters are a major challenge for Pakistan’s development, and about 49 million people reside in areas at risk of a 4-5% drop in quality life by 2030..

In its new report “South Asia Climate Change Action Plan 2021-25” released on Friday, the bank says Pakistan is increasingly exposed and vulnerable to various natural hazards, especially floods, cyclones , droughts and earthquakes. Combined with these vulnerabilities, disasters have caused significant loss of life, economic damage and reversal of development gains over the past 15 years.

Increasingly intense and frequent flooding has caused significant physical damage affecting more than 30 million people since 2010, with damage and losses exceeding $ 14 billion. In addition, floods have significant direct and indirect health effects, including impacts on food production, water supply, ecosystem disruption, infectious disease outbreaks and vector distribution, according to the report.

The country is increasingly exposed, vulnerable to various natural hazards

Pakistan is the 36th most vulnerable country to climate change and the 36th least prepared country in the Natural Disaster Gain Country Index, and ranks fifth among the countries most affected by climate shocks from 1990 to 2018.

Rising temperatures are causing glaciers in the north to melt, creating about 3,000 glacial lakes, 33 of which are prone to glacial lake flooding. Sindh and Balochistan are more prone to water scarcity and drought, receiving as little as 200 to 250 millimeters of precipitation per year.

Pakistan is also exposed to sea level rise with an expected increase of 60 centimeters in mean sea level by the end of the century. This trend is affecting communities along the coast in addition to harming coastal ecosystems such as the Indus Delta, which is losing sedimentation at the rate of one millimeter per year.

The World Bank says the agricultural sector continues to face increased risks from long and short-term climate variability, including extreme events such as floods and droughts. Pakistan is one of the fastest urbanizing countries in South Asia, with cities quickly becoming the engine of economic growth. Unplanned urbanization is also amplifying climate risks to service delivery as expanding cities face challenges of solid waste management, water supply and drainage, affordable housing and resilience to communities. extreme events.

The Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) analysis predicts that emissions from the energy sector will increase by 380% between 2015 and 2030, the largest increase among economic sectors. Therefore, the most effective mitigation path for Pakistan would be to focus on the energy sector, which in turn has underlying drivers spanning multiple sectors.

Pakistan has pledged to reduce up to 20% of its projected greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, subject to the availability of international subsidies to cover the total reduction cost of $ 40 billion. The NDC estimates adaptation costs in Pakistan between $ 2 billion and $ 3.8 billion per year and focuses on integrated water resources management to reduce flood risks and improve food security as priorities for short-term adaptation.

Due to weak planning and limited access to finance, Pakistan has not been able to develop its large and affordable hydropower potential or use profitable solar and wind potential. Pakistan imports nearly a third of its energy resources, which increases the price of the electricity basket. Pakistan’s excellent renewable energy potential has not been realized, with solar and wind power accounting for just 4% of total installed capacity and 2% of actual production, according to the report.

Another World Bank study shows Pakistan can reach 20% of total solar and wind capacity by 2025 with minimal power grid upgrades using capacity available at existing substations .

Posted in Dawn, October 30, 2021


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