ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s GDP is expected to decrease by a minimum of 18 to 20 percent by 2050 due to severe climate-related occurrences, environmental deterioration, and air contamination, says the World Bank.
The bank in a special note “Climate Silence in Pakistan” stated that climate change has profoundly affected Pakistan, manifesting in altered weather patterns and devastating floods.
Overall, eight in 10 people in Pakistan are concerned about impacts of climate change, with females and educated people being more concerned. Climate change is more likely to be perceived as a pressing issue when presented with economic issues. People with the least education are more likely to distrust all sources of climate-related information.
Parents have high demand for climate change education for their children; however, only a fraction of them engage in discussions about it at home.
Despite the high levels of concern about climate change, support for personal and government action is low. Strategies to motivate action on climate actions should focus on effectively encouraging behavioural change by highlighting financial savings rather than climate impact.
As with many developing nations, Pakistan is grappling with the effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures and a surge in natural calamities, including floods.
However, despite substantial evidence highlighting the consequences of climate change, there needs to be a more analytical insight into the drivers of individual perceptions and behaviours in relation to climate change in Pakistan. To bridge this gap, this policy note explores the role of socio-economic factors that shape people’s perception of climate change and the actions that influence its impact.
People’s perception of climate change can be affected by their experiences of income shocks. Those people who have experienced income loss due to events such as the Covid-19 pandemic or floods are more likely to be concerned about the impacts of climate change.
Although people express concern about climate change and its impacts when asked specifically about it, it does not necessarily rank high on their list of priorities to address.
According to the results, there is a four percentage point statistically significant increase in the likelihood of people considering climate change as an important issue when economic issues are presented first as compared to when social issues are presented first.
This can be attributed to the perception of climate change and pollution as an economic problem, which increases attention towards it when economic issues are emphasized first.
Furthermore, the difference in the prioritization of climate change between the two groups, based on the order of issues presented, is more prominent among people with higher levels of education.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023