Climate Change and Its Implication for the Economy in Pakistan

Session Report
Mansi Garg


In a captivating and intellectually stimulating session led by the distinguished Dr. Jabir Syed, an accomplished Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at COMSATS University, Islamabad, Pakistan, a comprehensive exploration of the dire and far-reaching consequences of climate change on Pakistan’s economy and its multifaceted sectors unfolded. Pakistan, a nation ranked among the top five most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change, has found itself ensnared in the clutches of an intensifying climate crisis over the past two decades. This crisis has manifested through a litany of harrowing events, including cataclysmic floods, meteoric temperature spikes, and erratic weather patterns, all of which have wrought havoc upon the country’s socioeconomic tapestry.

Socioeconomic Vulnerability

Dr. Syed inaugurated the session by shedding light on Pakistan’s precarious socio-economic position, a nation grappling with acute vulnerabilities precipitated by the unforgiving onslaught of climate change. He provided penetrating insights into the deep-rooted reliance of Pakistan’s populace, predominantly dwelling in rural hinterlands, on the agricultural sector. This sector, which constitutes the very bedrock of their livelihoods, has faced the brunt of climate change. Dr. Syed meticulously dissected the far-reaching implications of climate change on agriculture, with particular emphasis on the vulnerabilities intrinsic to cash crops, fruits, and vegetables, laying bare the immense challenges confronting millions.

Extreme Weather Patterns

A central thematic undercurrent of the discussion revolved around the evolving tapestry of extreme weather events, which have become emblematic of Pakistan’s climatic narrative. Dr. Syed presented an extensive repository of data, underscoring a consistent uptick in precipitation levels since the dawn of the new millennium in 2001. He poignantly emphasized that these unprecedented surges in precipitation bear formidable economic consequences for Pakistan, often culminating in catastrophic floods, extensive property damage, and heartbreaking loss of life.

Climate-Induced Losses

Dr. Syed masterfully unpacked the profound losses and geographic areas adversely impacted by climate-induced catastrophes in Pakistan. He shone a spotlight on the agricultural sector, the lifeblood of Pakistan’s economy, which has endured a staggering 4.9% decline in the aftermath of flood-related calamities. The overarching economic toll wrought by these disasters looms large, staggering in at a staggering 2.2% of Pakistan’s GDP, serving as an unequivocal clarion call for the strengthening of climate resilience measures.

Heat Waves and Air Pollution

Beyond the realm of precipitous events, the session delved into the ramifications of scorching heatwaves, amplifying water scarcity and fomenting the scourge of wildfires, thus perpetuating an adverse impact on agriculture and the broader economy. Dr. Syed keenly directed attention toward the ominous specter of air pollution, which has emerged as an imminent threat in Pakistan’s urban epicenters, precipitating deleterious consequences for public health and ambient air quality. He underscored the pressing urgency of implementing stringent measures to curtail emissions stemming from vehicular and industrial sources, all while grappling with the perils of crop residue burning.

Transboundary Air Pollution

In an astute analysis, Dr. Syed underscored the pivotal role of regional cooperation as an instrumental avenue for addressing the climate crisis, particularly in mitigating the specter of transboundary air pollution. He articulated the imperative of forging regional platforms and committees that can effectively foster collaborative endeavors among South Asian nations. These endeavors are fundamentally aimed at curtailing emissions and orchestrating a collective stand against the pernicious effects of climate change.

Rising Sea Levels and Coastal Areas

The session further scrutinized the inexorable rise of sea levels and the cataclysmic repercussions this phenomenon has imposed upon coastal areas. Karachi, Pakistan’s solitary coastal metropolis, found itself at the heart of this maelstrom. Dr. Syed lucidly elucidated how the relentless swell in sea levels, coupled with the insidious encroachment of seawater, has ushered in environmental degradation and precipitated the deterioration of water quality in these coastal precincts. The ramifications of these developments reverberate through the economy, sowing the seeds of dire financial consequences.

National Adaptation Plans

Faced with these harrowing trends, Pakistan has assumed the mantle of proactive leadership by instituting comprehensive national adaptation plans. These initiatives are strategically calibrated to confront climate change head-on and mitigate its deleterious impact on agriculture and water resources. This multifaceted blueprint encompasses a slew of strategies geared toward fortifying climate-resilient agricultural practices, optimizing the management of water resources, and addressing the nation’s carbon emission footprint.

Regional and Global Collaboration

Dr. Syed brought the session to a poignant close by hammering home the paramount importance of regional and global collaboration, underlining it as the linchpin for combatting climate change. He issued a fervent plea for unified, collective action, advocating for the relentless pursuit of both mitigation and adaptation measures. Dr. Syed’s resonant message was unequivocal: climate change is a global challenge, demanding concerted, cooperative efforts from all nations, transcending borders and mandates.


In summation, Dr. Jabir Syed’s incisive, illuminating session cast a luminous spotlight on the profound ramifications of climate change on Pakistan’s economy. His insights served as a clarion call, resonating with urgency, for the immediate bolstering of climate resilience and the fostering of collaborative action on both regional and global scales. The session, encapsulating the imperative of international cooperation in the face of climate change, transcended national boundaries, emerging as a clarion call for the forging of holistic solutions to this existential challenge.

Acknowledgement: Mansi Garg is a research intern at IMPRI

Posted By: Riya Rajvanshi is a research intern at IMPRI

Read more event reports of IMPRI here

The State of Law Public Policy in India’s Politics

Taxation and Sustainable Development Goals


  • IMPRI Desk

    IMPRI, a startup research think tank, is a platform for pro-active, independent, non-partisan and policy-based research. It contributes to debates and deliberations for action-based solutions to a host of strategic issues. IMPRI is committed to democracy, mobilization and community building.

    View all posts