Impact Of Climate Change On The Change Of Seasons In Pakistan

Any change in global or regional climate or a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels is considered as the climate change. Climate change is an established fact and its impacts on water resources, forests, agriculture, environment, health sectors and ENVIRONMENT INCLUDING SEASONS are quite visible around the globe. Climate change has great impacts on the change and shifting of the seasons.

Pakistan has four seasons; a cool, dry winter from December through February, a hot, dry spring from March through May, the summer rainy season from June to September, and the retreating Monsoon period of October and November. But these weather patterns have been altered due to rising temperatures and the increased Global Warming. On the other side, increased rainfalls cause tsunamis and floods including droughts too. Moreover, fogs and smog occur in the extreme winter conditions which disturb the normal human life. The global phenomenon of climate change is changing weather pattern across the country as summers are expanding, winters are shrinking, wet seasons are becoming wetter and dry spell is getting drier. According to the Pakistan Metrological Department (PMD), Pakistan’s Monsoon is under strong impact if climate change.

Shifting seasons are directly linked to warmer GLOBAL TEMPERATURES. A slight change in temperature is enough to push the spring earlier and delay the first frost. The environmental changes cause many trees and spring wildflowers to bloom earlier than typical. As a result, winters become shorter, spring arrives earlier, summers are longer and fall arrives later. The growing seasons are shifting. Now the winter season starts from early November and continues till the end January whereas previously it started in mid-October and continued till mid-February. Spring is arriving earlier, winters are shorter and the number of freezing days is declining. These changes affect the timing of many life cycle events such as flowers bloom or when pollinators emerge. Changes in the timing of these events can have adverse effects on the ecosystem.

“Wet spells have become wetter and will become wetter and will become wettest while the dry spells have become drier and will become driest.”

                                                                            (Mahr Sahibzad Khan)

Scientists have high confidence that the earlier arrival of spring events is linked to the recent warming trends in global climate disruptions in the timing of these events can have variety of impacts of the ecosystem such as, warm weather can create a “False Spring” that triggers the new growth of plants to begin too early, leaving them vulnerable to any subsequent frosts. Also, the prevailing weather patterns adversely affect the agriculture system of the country too. Humans are also affected by the changing weather conditions such as fogs, thunderstorms and windstorms affect normal routine. Food security is also affected due to changes in the seasons. Not only humans are affected, but the warming ocean temperature are also increasing the frequency of Coral Reefs Bleaching.

Discussing the reasons for the change in the weather patterns are the deforestation, rising levels of pollution, change in the land use, rapid urbanization, and unplanned industrialization are some of the contributing factors in enhancing the impacts of climate change in local conditions. These all factors disturb the growth of trees at the right time, floods, droughts, hurricanes, fires (forest fires), cold snaps, winter storms, tsunamis, heat waves, heaviest rainfalls, dust storms, fogs and other disasters that kill thousands of people in Pakistan. Also, the highest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan is 53.5 degree Celsius which was recorded in 2010.

Let us discuss the altering and changing of seasons with respect to the climate change; In the coming years rainfall in January, February and March will decrease further which will alter the plantation of trees and flowers and droughts, rainfall in April and May will increase which can cause tsunamis and flooding, rainfall in June, July and August will decrease and rainfall in September, October, November and December will increase slightly. Also the summer season in the country is expanding by one day per year and for the past 20 years till now the summer season had expanded by almost a month on both sides. Now the summer season starts in April and continue till early October while previously it was from May to August. And the winter season is shrinking by a ratio of half a day per year and so far it had shrunk by five days from both sides.

“WE ARE LIVING ON THE PLANET AS IF WE HAVE ANOTHER TO GO.”

                                                                                 (TERRY SWEARINGEN)

Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Mechanisms in Developing Countries

Adaptation:

  • Adjustment in Response to climate stimuli
  • Moderates harms OR Exploits opportunities
  • Maybe anticipatory or reactive

Mitigation – reducing climate change – involves reducing the flow of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, either by reducing sources of these gases (for example, the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat or transport) or enhancing the “sinks” that accumulate and store these gases (such as the oceans, forests and soil).

Adaptation – adapting to life in a changing climate – involves adjusting to actual or expected future climate. The goal is to reduce our vulnerability to the harmful effects of climate change (like sea-level encroachment, more intense extreme weather events or food insecurity).

Climate change is an increasingly urgent issue. Current estimates indicate that globally we are going to exceed a 2⁰C warming by the end of this century. The impacts of climate change are already being felt in several parts of the world. Adaptation is crucial, nevertheless, people’s ability to adapt is critically influenced by the kinds of knowledge accessible to them.

Adaptation to climate change is given increasing international attention as the confidence in climate change projections is getting higher. Developing countries have specific needs for adaptation due to high vulnerabilities, and they will in this way carry a great part of the global costs of climate change although the rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are mainly the responsibility of industrialized countries.

How much climate change?

Which will be determined by how our emissions continue and also precisely how our climate system responds to those emissions. Despite increasing awareness of climate change, our emissions of greenhouse gases continue on a relentless rise. In 2013, the daily level of carbon dioxide within the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time in human history.

“Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century … the impacts will be felt all around the world — and not just in some distant future but in our lifetimes and those of our children.”

Developing countries are vulnerable to extremes of normal climatic variability, and climate change is likely to increase the frequency and magnitude of some extreme weather events and disasters. Adaptation to climate change is dependent on current adaptive capacity and the development models that are being pursued by developing countries. Various frameworks are available for vulnerability and adaptation (V&A) assessments, and they have both advantages and limitations. Investments in developing countries are more focused on recovery from a disaster than on the creation of adaptive capacity. Extreme climatic events create a spiral of debt burden on developing countries. Increased capacity to manage extreme weather events can reduce the magnitude of economic, social and human damage and eventually, investments, in terms of borrowing money from the lending agencies.

Taking an example

Pakistan contributes less than 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases blamed for causing global warming, yet its 200 million people are among the world’s most vulnerable victims of the growing consequences of climate change.

The nation is facing ever-rising temperatures, drought, and flooding that threaten health, agriculture, water supplies and hopes for the development of a society that ranks in the bottom quarter of nations, based on income per person. Pakistan is among 10 countries affected most by climate change, according to the 2018 Global Climate Risk Index released by the public policy group Germanwatch. Bridging the Middle East and South Asia, Pakistan is in a geographic location where average temperatures are predicted to rise faster than elsewhere, increasing 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) by the year 2100.

Issues Facing by Pakistan:

The human activities like burning of fossil fuels, excessive smoke discharges from factories and the depletion of forests have led to an increase in the concentration of the greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, in the earth’s outer atmosphere which are responsible for trapping excessive heat inside the environment and thus increasing the overall temperature of the earth, leading to the phenomenon of global warming. Global warming has emerged as one of the major threats to our planet in this century. It has been proved that due to the increase of the greenhouse gases in our outer atmosphere, the earth’s temperature has warmed by 0.74°C over the last 100 years, leading to floods, famines, and droughts and cyclones among other natural disasters.

Policy Action for Successful Adaptation and Mitigation:

  • Accurate and Disaggregated data is absolutely essential
  • Improve the lack of a balanced approach towards addressing all Villages
  • It would be worthwhile to involve academic institutions to conduct surveys for assessing the adaptation needs of the various sectors
  • Many impacts can be avoided, reduced or delayed by mitigation

Problems faced by rural women in Pakistan

In Pakistan, women are destitute from basic rights. Several complexes yet inter connected institutionalized social and cultural factors have kept women particularly vulnerable the violence directed at them in different ways.

> Women are concentrated in the agriculture sector, primarily in diary and livestock. The returns to labor are low: only 19% are in paid employment and 60% work as unpaid workers on family farms and enterprises. Their unpaid work is valued (using comparative median wages) at PKR 683 billion, is 57% of all work done by women, and is 2.6% of GDP.

> College education is a catalyst for women to enter into the formal, paid employment. 4% rural women have college degrees, and 57% of them are employed, primarily as teachers.

> The gendered division of labor (women included in, transplanting, weeding, cotton picking, vegetable and wheat harvesting, care and management of livestock) is a barrier to women’s access to technologies, training, or microfinance. Very few women are entrepreneurs in Pakistan (1%); 20% of rural women are classified as own account workers (14% in agriculture and 6% in non-agriculture work). Women’s work as dairy farmers, vegetable producers etc. is not addressed.

> Once the backbone of the economy, contributing almost 40% of Pakistan’s GDP, agriculture now accounts for approximately 20% of the GDP, employing 42% of the labor forces (50% in rural areas, of which 28% is female).

Improving women’s access to agricultural inputs, using simple technologies to connect them to markets and information sources, expanding financial inclusion through mobile wallets and branchless banking, and removing conventional barrier to accessing credit (such as collateral, male guarantor etc.) adds value to women’s work. Skills trainings outreach and content, has to shift from its current focus on women’s reproductive roles and view them as major contributors to the economy. Climate Change Policy must be gender sensitive and nuanced to cater to the diverse geographic and topographic areas of Pakistan and the livelihoods of the communities therein. Women should be facilitated in growing new crops which are more resilient towards climate change, particularly in floods prone areas. The Environment Policy should be updated to reflect changes and to suggest actions for managing environmental changes due to climate change.

Gender and Environment

There is a general misunderstanding regarding what we have a tendency to mean after we refer to gender and environment. Gender mainstreaming refers to a policy of reflecting gender in all policies and programs and to examine the consequences of decisions on ladies and men. The subject of Gender and environment is way over gender mainstreaming.

The discussion of Gender and environment relies on 2 precepts:

  1. That gender mediates human/environment interactions and all environmental use, knowledge, and assessment; and
  2. That gender roles, responsibilities, expectations, norms, and also the division of labor shape all styles of human relationships to the environment.

When addressing gender in the context of the environment, it is important to recognize that women and men are not homogenous groups. Where women and men live, their age, social class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and other variables, interact in shaping the links between gender and the environment. This complexity must be accounted for in participation, needs analysis and programed design.

A gender analysis of environmental work should cover the following categories:

  1. Formal and informal constraints: Rules and norms that shape the behavior of male and female in society, gender relations and identities.
  2. Division of labor: The tasks and responsibilities that men and women are expected to fulfil in private and public arenas.
  3. Access to and control over resources: The resources, in a broad sense, that men and women have access to and power to decide over.

Why all time this happened to the female gender? There are some

  1. Causes of Gender Inequality:
  • Patriarchy
  • Discriminatory fosterage of children by parents
  • Illiteracy
  • Sociocultural and Religious Influence

There are some Facts Figures:

  • Women with full-time jobs still earn only about 77% of their male counterparts’ earning
  • 62 million girls are denied an education all over the world
  • At least 1000 honor killings occur in India and Pakistan each annually
  • 1 in 3 women experienced physical violence at some point in their life
  • Each minute, 28 girls are married before they are ready

Some solutions for handling Gender Inequality:

  • Equal treatment of children by parents regardless of their gender
  • Eradicating patriarchy
  • Equal Educational Opportunities for children
  • Instilling the notion of gender equality into kids at a tender age