Pakistan’s Developing Economy in a Warming World

by JP Kiefer

Despite contributing little to greenhouse gas emissions, the poorest countries and people will be negatively affected by climate change the earliest and most severely. This is due to an increased inability to adapt to changes in crop production, water resources, and human health. Akram and Hamid (2015) determined that Pakistan would be one of the countries hit hardest by climate change.

Temperature has been shown to have a negative and significant relationship with both Pakistan’s GDP and its productivity in agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors. Of these sectors, agriculture is hit the hardest. This is largely due to the industry’s direct dependence on both temperature and precipitation. Just a 1°C temperature increase alone can reduce wheat yields by 1.74%. This does not include the effects that an increased frequency of heavy monsoons can have on farmlands, nor the negative effects that rising sea levels and floods can have by making soil saline. In the dry season rainfall has been reduced due to climate change, which can place severe strain on irrigation requirements. Livestock are also going to be impacted due to reduced feed and an increase in diseases and disease vectors. Overall, Pakistan’s agricultural industry will be hurting if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate.

Even sectors of Pakistan’s economy that are somewhat removed from dependence on climates will be harmed by the impact of climate change on human health. It has been estimated that risk of diarrhea has increased to 10% due to climate change in certain regions of the nation. More significantly, studies in India have shown that the degree of global warming can increase incidence of malaria by around 10% as well. This would wreak havoc on Pakistan’s workforce in its developing economy.

Pakistan began preparing for the negative effects of climate change when its “National Environment and Climate Change Policy” was formulated in 2005 to specifically focus on various climate change issues in Pakistan, specifically the increased variability of the monsoons, the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers, and the increased siltation of dams. However, Akram and Hamid (2015) believe that in order for truly significant progress to be made, a joint and comprehensive policy should be adapted by the entire middle east to focus on both adaptation and mitigation measures that could cope with the impacts of climate change.

Akram and Hamid, 2015. Climate change: A threat to the economic growth of Pakistan. Progress in Development Studies, Jan 2015: 73-86.


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