ISLAMABAD - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) fifth assessment report titled "IPCC AR5 - What it means for a stronger and more inclusive Pakistan" released on Monday held that in South Asia some low-carbon development options may be less costly in the long run in terms of climate change with integrated climate adaptation, mitigation and development approaches.
Besides, the report emphasised on international cooperation as vital to avert dangerous climate change and enabling South Asian governments to promote ambitious global action.
Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, CEO, LEAD Pakistan, said that it was the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever with input of 830 expert authors from 85 countries.
He said: "The report reviews the scientific evidence on the trends and causes of climate change, the risks to human and natural systems, and options for adaptation and mitigation."
According to the report there was a 95 per cent probability that human influence was the dominant cause of the observed global warming since the mid-20th century. Globally, sea levels have risen faster than at any time during the previous two millennia and the effects were felt in South Asia. Depending on the global emissions levels, sea levels could further rise from 26cm to 98cm by the end of the 21st century.
The report also observed that since the 1950s, the rate of global warming has been unprecedented. The average increase in the temperature of the earth's surface has been 0.85 degrees Celsius and projections indicated that, compared to the average in the 20th century, average annual temperatures could rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius over land in most of South Asia by the mid-21st century and exceed up to 3 degrees Celsius under a high emissions scenario.
Dr Adil Najam, Dean of Pardee School of Global Studies said that everyone should step forward and take action in fighting against climate change. He said: "There is no doubt in saying that climate change is posing a great threat to the water and food security, health, livelihood and infrastructure in South Asia."
"Climate becomes unpredictable if it is messed and management of adaptation for the future will be mostly related to water, because climate of the future is very wet," he added. The report warned that climate change would have widespread impacts on South Asian society and its interaction with the natural environment. It stated that climate change adaptations were mostly going to be about changes in life style, ways of energy production and going for advanced technologies.
Mitigation was necessary besides being doable and affordable but the industrialised countries had backtracked on their promises and that less mitigation could lead to adapt more.
Dr Koko Warner, one of the lead authors of WG II, on Implications of Pakistan's Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Change for Livelihoods and Poverty, said: "It's all about our choices, decisions and actions. Climate change is a challenge to everything that matters to us.”
Emphasising on protecting human welfare and employing new approaches to sustainable development, Warner said: "Climate change poses moderate threat to current sustainable development and a severe threat to future sustainable development. But, there are challenges, there are opportunities."
Dr Mohsin Iqbal said that climate change had both negative and positive impacts. Positive occur mostly on higher altitudes while negative on lower altitudes. He said that in northern areas of Pakistan crop yield would increase by 50 per cent whereas it would decrease in Punjab by 18-32 per cent by 2080.