A World Bank report, based on a survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan in March 2023, has found that eight of 10 people in Pakistan are concerned about impacts of climate change, with women and educated people being more concerned.
Titled Climate Silence in Pakistan, the report noted that the awareness and significance of climate change was influenced by several factors, including concern for its impact on children, recognition of climate change as a significant issue, and personal interest. It found that climate change has profoundly affected Pakistan in recent years in the form of altered weather patterns and devastating floods.
According to projections, it states, 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. Among its key takeaways is that climate change is more likely to be perceived as a pressing issue when presented with economic issues, with people with the least education most likely to distrust all sources of climate-related information. Similarly, residents of rural areas are more skeptical than their urban counterparts.
While noting that parents have high demand for climate change education for their children, it said only a fraction engaged them in discussions about it at home. “Despite the high levels of concern about climate change, support for personal and government action is low,” it said, advising authorities to target strategies to motivate action on climate actions on effectively encouraging behavioral change by highlighting financial savings rather than climate impact
Explaining why women appear generally more concerned about climate change, particularly its potential impact on children, the report said the gender disparity might stem from women’s role as primary caregivers. “The most educated people are the most concerned about the impact of climate change,” it noted, stating this highlighted the importance of education and knowledge about climate change as one of the factors to foster a more sustainable future for all.
Additionally, it said, people who had experienced income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic or floods were more likely to be concerned about the impacts of climate change, highlighting the importance of understanding the indirect impacts of climate change on people’s lives.
On prevalent smog, especially in urban settings, the report found that while people agreed preventative measures could mitigate the effects of air pollution, relatively few actually implemented them, presenting a significant challenge in terms of promoting behavioral change.
Despite the serious concern about climate change, states the report, there is limited support for personal and government action. “This highlights the need for more effective communication and education about the specific actions people and governments can take to address climate change,” it said, emphasizing a pressing need to bridge the gap between concern and action and ensure that people are equipped with the necessary knowledge to take meaningful steps towards combating climate change.