“Pakistan needs to develop a strategy for institutional capacity building and awareness and formulate a comprehensive report and recommendations to enhance understanding and capacity to respond to such situations.”
What sense does one make of this official-cum-political jargon? This is what the Minister for Climate Change, Mushahidullah Khan, keeps saying these days in press statements to make his countrymen believe that his ministry is really up to something to save them from climate change.
He has already soothed people’s tempers by saying that the coal-powered plants in Rajasthan, India, could have contributed to the deadly Karachi heatwave. “Trans-boundary pollution is a worldwide concern. We will investigate,” he said at a National Clean Development Mechanism Programme event.
The minister proves to be a true representative of the masses when he comes up with a theory to explain the killer heatwave. Who has done it? How has it happened? And the easy way out is to blame some “foreign hand”. How can we blame ourselves for the mess we are in? Who else is responsible for the wrongs? Blame India, America or Israel for “some secret projects” to tamper with climate and it goes down well with all.
One of the best and easy ways to understand climate change is to google. “Conspiracy theory about weather change.” One will find how India and America are using weather change technology to play havoc with Pakistan by inducing heavy rains, floods and tornadoes. These bellicose nationalists airing conspiracy theories on social media conveniently ignore the fact that the US, India and Europe are also suffering the climate brunt of a greater degree.
Experts believe that conspiracy theories abound in societies that are ignorant about a particular subject or have limited access to information. In a bid to fill in the blanks, people resort to imagination and find an explanation that suits their interests and egos. Lack of understanding of the subject and inaction on the part of the officials concerned leave enough room for people to speculate, hence, a number of conspiracy theories.
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Director General, Pakistan Meteorological Department, Dr Ghulam Rasul, has also complained about ‘black carbon’ emitted from steel mills in the north of India that were carried by winds into Pakistan. “Winds carrying the black soot had been settling and accumulating on the glaciers in Pakistan’s northern areas. The black soot absorbs more heat, causing the glaciers to melt faster,” the expert was quoted by the press.
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Programme (HAARP) is also notorious for manipulating climate around the world. Controversies shroud this ionosphere research programme that is funded by University of Alaska, US Navy and US Airforce.
Cloud seeding by developed countries is also blamed for chaotic weather in developing countries. Cloud seeding is the least understood scientific attempt to induce rains, thus causing the imagination to run wild. Rumours and conspiracies aside, cloud seeding attempts by Russia have been repeatedly used to produce clouds and control them. The Beijing Weather Modification Office also made headlines when it was said to have controlled weather ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games.
Unplanned urbanisation, construction of high-rises, deforestation, pollutant industries and growing number of road vehicles are also contributing to the climate change. But these reasons sound irrelevant in societies like ours that have a special knack for the surreal.