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Published: Monday 12 August, 2013

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While speaking at a workshop on climate change on Tuesday, Engr. Roland DeSouza revealed that scientists had predicted beforehand that Pakistan was to go through severe climate change in 2010, but that no preventive action had been taken to mitigate the sufferings of millions of people.

It was predicted before the floods had even happened that Pakistan was going to suffer more than any other country because of climate change in 2010, DeSouza told the audience. The workshop was titled Climate Change Adaptation Strategy KarachiA Roadmap, and was organized by ShehriCBE with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

DeSouza said that population growth, rising temperatures, increasingly severe weather, tropical cyclones, hurricanes, storms and droughts to name a few were all signs of climate change.

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Climate change is like a cancer, he said. However, unlike cancer, patients suffering from the effects of climate change dont realise that they are suffering, he explained.

DeSouza said that though climate change could be traced back billions of years, human contribution to the phenomenon was a relatively new development. Today, he said, humans have a significant effect on climate because of massive industrial development and use of vehicles and air conditioning. He said that public transport was an effective way to decrease greenhouse emissions, but that a culture of consumerism was promoting the use of private vehicles in urban centres such as Karachi.,

Climatechange impacts fall disproportionately on the poor, he said. Citing scientific studies he said that, as a result of climate change, the sealevel near coastal cities such as Karachi is expected to rise, which would lead to an increase in climate migration. He said that this would primarily affect the poor, who are the most vulnerable sections of society.

What is it that we can do? DeSouza asked the audience. His answer was to use renewable energy systems and energyefficient transportation systems, as these reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Citing the United Nations, DeSouza said: Not only we are headed towards an abyss; we are putting our foot on the accelerator.

The people who will be affected by climate change are those living in countries such as Pakistan. This will happen irrespective of who actually causes the pollution, DeSouza said.

Meanwhile, Chairman Department of Architecture and Planning of the NED University of Engineering and Technology explained that Climate change is an exact science. However, Ahmed acknowledged that there were still a number of grey areas in the field that need to be addressed.

He pointed out that the National Disaster Management Policy prepared by the government had not included urbanisation in cities such as Karachi, which, he believes, is a huge omission.

Farhan Anwar, an urban planner and member of ShehriCBE said that climate is measurable. Data has to be collected over long periods of time.

Anwar said carbon makes a comeback, and that, today, the climate is changing rapidly because of industrialisation and urbanisation.

Anwar pointed out that the topic of climate change was heavily influenced by politics and that the impact of carbon dioxide was much larger today than any other factor.

Events of extreme weather are taking place. There have been tsunamis and heavy snow in North America in April, he observed.

He said that urbanisation was the major factor contributing to cli michael kors bags cheap mate change but that awareness about the effects of urbanization was lacking in Pakistan.

The impact will be felt here, he said. No mega cities are coming up in the industrialized world, he said. Referring to climate change adaptability on Karachi, he said the citys estimated population was 18 million but there was an urban sprawl as well. Karachi is expanding beyond the governments mandate, he observed.

Karachi is prone to flooding; what is needed i michael kors bags cheap s a flood plain map for Karachi, he said.

We can relate it to census data and properties, he said. Few people realize that 20 per cent of Karachi is Kirthar National Park, he said.

Anwar said that the increase in the use of vehicles in Karachi was many times higher than its population growth, and that green spaces and farmlands were diminishing.

Agricultural land is increasing but there is no cultivation, he said. People are simply buying agricultural land, he said.

Karachis flora and fauna and the nesting grounds for the endangered green turtle were also being affected due to climate change, he said.

In her welcome address, General Secretary ShehriCBE Amber Alibhai said that Karachi would be affected by its weak infrastructure.

Its not only mismanagement; its also a scarcity of water that is affecting Karachi, she said. She said that people from Gadap Town, which is considered the breadbasket of Karachi, had given up on their plantations due to scarcity of water, whereas the Lyari and Malir rivers had been badly affected due to excavation of reti and bajri. She said these problems were compounded because Karachi was suffering ethnic violence and that each political party has its own armed group. michael kors bags cheap