In the evolving landscape of global security trends, traditional military threats from adversaries have long been a significant concern for states. However, the nature of threats has undergone a profound transformation, giving rise to non-traditional challenges that jeopardize a state’s security. These non-traditional threats encompass a spectrum of issues, including economic crises, political instability, water scarcity, food insecurity, terrorism, environmental degradation, and climate change, all of which originate within a state’s borders. These challenges concern not only developing nations but also developed states and underdeveloped regions worldwide.
Pakistan, a nation with a paramount focus on national security against military threats, now finds itself contending with an array of emergent issues such as terrorism, economic and political instability, food insecurity, domestic unrest, and climate change, all of which undermine its national security. Among these challenges, climate change has emerged as a central concern for Pakistan.
Climate change, a global non-traditional security threat, imperils the global security framework due to its severe implications. It manifests as shifts in regional weather patterns, including extreme heatwaves, harsh winters, heavy rainfall, excessive flooding, glacier melting, and overall environmental transformations. The root causes of climate change are multi-faceted, primarily stemming from the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels for industrial and household energy consumption, as well as deforestation, which further exacerbates environmental instability.
Pakistan has experienced various manifestations of climate change, including glacier melting, devastating floods like the 2022 deluge, extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and hazardous winter smog. These factors have far-reaching implications that have created an atmosphere of instability within Pakistan.
Climate disasters give rise to environmental degradation, social strife, economic crises, security challenges, agricultural losses, food insecurity, infrastructure damage, casualties, migration, and health issues. For instance, the 2022 flood displaced approximately 20 million people, resulting in loss of shelter, casualties, widespread infrastructure destruction, loss of livelihoods, disruption of production and transport of domestic goods, and a significant impact on the state’s economy. Moreover, the gradual temperature increase of 1.3°C to 4°C has led to an extremely harsh environment, adversely affecting the daily lives of the populace and contributing significantly to glacier melting.
In a predominantly agrarian economy like Pakistan, climate change has disrupted agricultural production, subsequently impacting the export of agricultural products and leading to food insecurity. Climate change has also given rise to severe health issues, including vector-borne diseases such as Dengue and Malaria. As climatic conditions worsen, people from affected regions have been forced to migrate, leading to internal displacement. These severe consequences can directly translate into security challenges, potentially escalating into civil unrest or interstate conflict.
To confront these multifaceted challenges, Pakistan must adopt a resolute stance against climate change. Climate change, as a global non-traditional security threat with pervasive implications at the state, community, and individual levels, demands a concerted response across all these dimensions.
Individual and Community Level:
At the individual level, the foundation for addressing climate change begins with psychological preparedness to face its adverse effects. This mindset shift empowers individuals and communities to take practical steps. Energy conservation is paramount, involving reduced energy consumption through the use of energy-efficient appliances, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and improving home insulation. Transportation choices can make a difference, with options like public transportation, carpooling, biking, and transitioning to electric or hybrid vehicles where possible.
The principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle should be embraced to minimize waste, along with support for local recycling and waste management initiatives. Responsible water usage, including fixing leaks and adopting low-flow appliances, is essential.
A sustainable diet that reduces meat consumption, particularly beef, in favor of locally sourced, seasonal, and organic foods can contribute to climate mitigation. Furthermore, communities can play a vital role in raising awareness through workshops, seminars, and informational campaigns, educating residents about climate change science, impacts, and individual and community roles.
Supporting green initiatives, including community gardens and parks for carbon absorption, endorsing sustainable agriculture, and advocating for local renewable energy adoption, is essential. Sustainable living can be fostered through eco-friendly events, promoting local sourcing, and incentivizing eco-friendly business practices, along with collaborative projects such as building green infrastructure and advancing the circular economy.
The government of Pakistan bears a significant responsibility in this endeavor. Constructing dams for effective water management is crucial to addressing water scarcity and flood risks. Policymaking plays a pivotal role, requiring the enactment and enforcement of sustainability-promoting policies across various sectors, including agriculture and industry. This encompasses incentives for renewable energy sources and the establishment of emissions reduction targets.
The creation of a dedicated Climate Action Force, equipped and trained to manage climate-related disasters such as floods and droughts, is imperative. Effective governance, marked by transparency, accountability, and adherence to the rule of law, is vital to implementing climate policies and holding polluters accountable. Afforestation initiatives, clean transportation promotion, and plastic waste reduction should be integral components of green policies.
A dedicated Climate Change Ministry can coordinate these efforts and formulate a national climate action plan. Funding is critical, and Pakistan should explore international climate finance mechanisms while mobilizing domestic resources for climate projects. Public-private partnerships can also be instrumental in funding sustainable initiatives.
At the global level, collaborative efforts such as zero-carbon initiatives, United Nations leadership as a global governing body, and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through decreased industrial activities are essential in countering this non-traditional global security threat. In conclusion, climate change poses a menacing challenge worldwide. The strategies and solutions mentioned above must be earnestly embraced to combat climate change and mitigate its devastating implications.