ISLAMABAD – Research reveals people in Pakistan have lost confidence in the government’s ability to build resilience to climate change, The Guardian reported.
Researchers from Climate Asia, conduct the largest study in Asia on people’s perceptions of changes in climate.
According to the study, Pakistan stood out from the other countries included in the study – India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and China – because of this strong sense of despair. It was the only country of all seven in which more people thought life had become worse in the past five years, both in rural areas and big cities.
Climate Asia, which surveyed more than 4,000 people across the country, found that lack of electricity, not having enough food and not having enough clean water were people’s biggest worries. High inflation was also mentioned as putting a lot of pressure on their lives.
And these worries were aggravated by perceived changes in climate and the environment, namely rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, shifts in seasons and saline water intrusion, which people said affected agricultural productivity and access to water.
People in Pakistan were noticing these changes over the years despite only a quarter of respondents saying they had heard the term “climate change” before, and despite 15% saying that they had heard the term but did not know what it meant.
In more than any other country surveyed in the region, people in Pakistan thought these changes in weather and in availability of water, food, electricity and fuel, were currently having a high impact on their lives, their lifestyles and health.
Pakistan also stood out for the low confidence people had in national, provincial and local governments taking the necessary actions to help them respond to changes in water, food, energy supply or extreme weather events. More than 70% of people surveyed said that they had little or no confidence in government to help them on these issues.
The Climate Asia findings for Pakistan are at once some of the most worrying and inspiring to emerge. In the absence of government support, some communities are innovating and working together to tackle the threats they face. These responses cover a wide range of actions, such as changing cropping patterns, creating emergency shelters and safe spaces for livestock and storing seeds, trying alternative sources of income or creating community citizen boards to manage publicly funded schemes. If those ideas could be shared on a wider scale, it could go a long way to support some of Asia’s most vulnerable communities.