Fighting climate change in Pakistan has become an urgent issue as the country grapples with the fallout from the fuel and electricity crises that plunged the country into darkness last week.
The Minister of Finance, Miftah Ismail, announced the allocation of part of the country’s budget for the next fiscal year (2022-2023) to combat climate change, in addition to enhancing food and information security technologies, according to the local Express Tribune.
This comes at a time when Islamabad has fought a fierce war regarding the fuel file; The country has seen so much talk of subsidies and fuel prices that the government of Imran Khan was overthrown and the government of Shahbaz Sharif took over.
Muftah Ismail stressed that climate change is one of the necessary issues that threaten the existence of countries, noting that his government is well aware of the extent of its dangers at that time.
He added that the government has allocated 10 billion rupees (about $49 million) to combat climate change in Pakistan, which will be spent on environmental projects needed to adapt and reduce its severity, according to what he said during his speech on the country’s new fiscal year budget, Friday, June 10.
(1 Pakistani Rupee = 0.0049 USD)
(Fiscal year in Pakistan starts from July 1, to end of June each year)
In addition to the expected allocations to combat climate change, the government has proposed the possibility of spending 17 billion rupees in the field of information technology, which includes expanding the country’s communications infrastructure, providing technical equipment for young people and exporting them.
Ismail also announced the allocation of 11 billion rupees to the agriculture and food security sectors, allowing for agricultural innovations, expanding the use of equipment and laser leveling the soil, enhancing irrigation systems, the quality of planting seeds and exports.
Climate Change Manifestations In Pakistan
Climate change is escalating in Pakistan, at a time when the country is experiencing crises that touch on basic daily needs such as fuel and electricity.
Climate change in Pakistan has led to the emergence of unprecedented repercussions, whether in terms of rainfall patterns or temperatures, droughts and sudden torrential rains, especially from icy water flows.
The country faced the latest manifestations of climate change, last May, after flooding rains from the Chesper glacier wiped out dozens of homes and a major bridge in the village of Hassanabad in the Hunza Valley.
Data issued by the Pakistani Ministry of Climate indicated that the country has more than 7,000 glaciers at the highest rate of its kind after the North and South Pole, adding that these rivers are subject to melting as a result of high temperatures.
The manifestations of climate change in Pakistan may push towards the formation of 3,044 glacial lakes capable of being swept away in the event of floods similar to what the village of Hassanabad faced last month, and these lakes would threaten the lives of 7 million citizens, according to La Prensa Latina newspaper.
While the government has allocated nearly $50 million to combat climate change in Pakistan; The average contribution of Islamabad to global emissions does not exceed 1%, but it is among the top 10 countries most affected by climate change.
Fuel And Electricity Crises
In parallel with the announcement of the upcoming budget allocations, including the amount of spending on combating climate change in Pakistan, the South Asian country is experiencing severe crises in the fuel and electricity sectors.
The government plans to lift fuel subsidies, to meet the conditions of the International Monetary Fund, and to obtain the remaining tranches of a loan totaling $6 billion.
The current and previous government exchanged accusations about the escalation of the fuel crisis, after Oman Khan reduced the price of fuel in the local markets while burdening the state budget with the burdens of the allocation difference. In return, the government of Shahbaz Sharif accused him of flooding the country with debts.
The government raised gasoline and diesel prices, as well as gas prices, according to what the specialized energy platform saw at the time.
During the past week, the electricity was cut off according to the distribution companies across the country; What called the Minister of Finance to confirm the country’s austerity measures.
After the outage, the government announced several measures to confront the electricity crises; Most notably, the adoption of a plan to conserve energy that includes reducing official working days and adopting Saturday as a weekly holiday.