Climate change is bigger threat to Pakistan than terrorism, foreignpolicy.com reported.
Pakistan has struggled to manage urgent crises, ranging from infrastructure woes to terrorism for decades. While its policies focus on short-term conventional threats, a potentially devastating danger lurks in the shadows: climate change.
As the impact of global warming continues to grow, the political and economic instability it brings will threaten Pakistan’s security. The Pakistani government must prioritize its response to climate change in order to mitigate environmental threats and prevent future calamities.
Much like the government, the Pakistani public finds it difficult to prioritize climate change when the average citizen is deprived of life’s most basic necessities. For the population, immediate and clear hazards to their livelihood trump long-term, still largely invisible threats. In 2007-2008, a Gallup poll found that only 34 percent of Pakistanis were aware of climate change, and only 24 percent considered it a serious threat.
However, this perception is changing as global warming starts to impact everyday life. Over the past several years, Pakistanis have witnessed, firsthand, the devastating effects of climate change.
Catastrophic floods displaced millions, and severe droughts in Thar and Balochistan portend the damage global warming can cause. The frequency of those floods has increased over the last five years, due to melting glaciers and heavy rainfall. Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous metropolitan city, suffered a heat wave so severe it claimed the lives of almost 1,200 people.
These recent disasters could account for the change in public opinion from the 2007-2008 Gallup poll to the situation in 2015, when Pakistan joined the list of 19 countries where the majority of the population now considers climate change a top global threat.