Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pakistan should take strong position on global climate change issues, says climate advisor

The Business Recorder (Pakistan): A renowned Climate Scientist, Professor Dr Qamar-Uz-Zaman Chaudhry remained the director general of Pakistan Meteorological Department between 1996 and 2010. He is a research scientist in the fields of Global Warming & Climate Change, Meteorology, Atmospheric Sciences, Hydrology and Seismology.

...BRR: Let's hear your views and thoughts on the issue of Climate Change. What have been the recent manifestations of this issue in Pakistan and across the globe?

QC: The frequency and intensity of droughts and floods has increased in many parts of the world. South-East Asia, particularly Pakistan is experiencing this change in extreme weather events whose frequency has increased over last several years. Either there is no rain, or if there is, it is equivalent to many years of rainfall. Last year's one month rainfall in Sindh was equal to the amount of rains in previous five years combined. This year there were drought-like conditions in many parts of Balochistan, Cholistan and Tharparkar until a belated spell of rains started in late August. At the same time, still, there were areas across Pakistan that had flash flooding.

Sensitising the authorities is very important - and Wapda and Irsa took some extraordinary management measures this year and disregarded their previous SOPs to fill the Tarbela Dam. They need to be praised for these managerial skills.

There is a huge impact of climate change on global agricultural economy, as output declines or is washed out in extreme climate events. Strategic food reserves are depleted fast even as it becomes more expensive for the grain-importing countries to purchase those commodities at higher prices. Domestic prices increase and there are more incidences of hoarding and smuggling due to food shortages. In 2007-08, there were food riots in around 30 countries across the globe - and interestingly, the food shortages weren't fundamental but speculative buying was the main reason for the crisis. This time around, due to recent erratic weather across the globe, we may experience real food shortages….

NASA image of a dust storm over the Indus River

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