Monsoons, Hydropower, and Climate Justice in Pakistan's River Communities
Climate Justice: Case Studies in Global and Regional Governance Challenges (Environmental Law Institute) (2017)
22 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2016
Date Written: November 16, 2016
Floods from torrential monsoon rains have become a regular phenomenon in Pakistan. During the past 10 years, the country witnessed massive flooding, with the 2010 floods being the most devastating. In order to comprehend the extent of losses caused by the 2010 floods, consider that the 20 million people affected by these floods were more than the entire populations hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004), the Kashmir earthquake (2005), Cyclone Nargis (2008), and the Haiti earthquake (2010) combined based on figures from the United Nations. At the time of the flood, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Make no mistake: this is a global disaster, a global challenge. It is one of the greatest tests of global solidarity in our times.”
The monsoon flooding has put Pakistan at the front lines of climate change. The country’s river communities, coastal areas, and mountainous regions are subject to the dramatic effects of climate change, including droughts, heat waves, sea-level rise, erosion, and flooding. Infrastructure stability, agricultural yield, water and energy supplies, air quality, forestry, ecosystem balance, and public health are at risk because of the deleterious impacts of climate change. These negative consequences of climate change will strike Pakistan first and hardest. Existing conditions of poverty, drought, energy crisis, conflict, and political instability will aggravate the ongoing and future perils of climate change.
Climate change activists throughout the world applauded the outcome in the 2015 Leghari case in Pakistan. In this landmark climate change lawsuit, Ashgar Leghari, a farmer in the Rahim Yar Khan District, in Pakistan’s South Punjab region, sued the national government for failure to adhere to the actions stated in the 2012 National Climate Policy and Framework.
Keywords: Climate Change, Pakistan, Monsoons, Hydropower, Dams
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