ISLAMABAD: Climate change experts on Wednesday said South Asia was the most vulnerable region to climate change and therefore collective efforts were needed to deal with threats posed by the changing weather patterns and increasing risks of natural calamities.

They said this while sharing their views at a hybrid seminar titled, ‘Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: IPCC Working-II Report 2022 lessons and way forward for South Asia’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Senior economist and food systems specialist, livelihoodsfrom Nepal Dr Abid Hussain asserted that almost all the findings of the report were very relevant to the South Asia region.

He was of the view that environmental sustainability was a cross cutting theme for all types of sustainability. Referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, he said 54pc of Pakistan consisted of mountainous areas and hence, inclusion of the mountains ecosystem in the report is of high importance for Pakistan.

Climate scientist Dr Fahad Saeed highlighted that the IPCC report enforced the risk for South Asia as one of the hotspots.

The report showed that water had been the most stressed resource which the climate change had ensued. Changes in climate have already impacted the lives of the people living on higher mountains, and mangroves in the coastal areas were also depleted.

“Besides, climate change has triggered heat waves in urban areas and has been impacting food viability, and increasing incidence of diseases, such as dengue and malaria,” he said.

Earlier, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said governments and scientists need to dwell on the magnitude of the problem presented by the IPCC report.

South Asia was first time declared as the most vulnerable to the climate change and with impacts so glaring on all aspects of life as this report has mentioned, he added.

Director, Climate Action Network South Asia, Sanjay Vashisht, was of the view that the IPCC report says that climate change had already done substantial damages. Now is the era of adaptation and loss and damages control, where 50-75pc of the global population could be exposed to periods of life-threatening climatic conditions.

The IPCC report says that by 2030 the number of people living below poverty line will increase manifold due to climate change.

Chief Executive Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change Pakistan, Aisha Khan highlighted that the report covered all forthcoming impacts of the climate change and the needs for adaptation.

“We need to create a synergy among the mitigation and adaptation plans and work as a partner in face of the climate change,” she added.

Director WWF Pakistan Dr Imran Khalid suggested that the cross-cutting themes for the region like the air pollution and water should be dealt with on priority.

Research Fellow SDPI Dr Hina Aslam informed the participants that energy transition laid at the centre of the climate change adaptation.

Hydropower generation and cooling water demands have decreased, which critically analyses the impacts of climate change on the energy.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2022

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