Climate change and poverty could become a life-threatening trap in some parts of the world. A report by the human rights organization Amnesty International warns of this in light of World Environment Day.

The report examines the effects of extreme heat in Pakistan and shows that many people there lack the means to protect themselves against high temperatures. According to Amnesty, doctors are reporting an increase in heat stroke, shortness of breath and dizziness and more patients in emergency rooms overall.

Experts fear an increase in extreme weather events in the South Asian country due to climate change. Last year Pakistan initially experienced an unusually hot spring, in May the city of Jacobad reached temperatures of up to 51 degrees, according to the authorities. Finally, in the summer, there was record rainfall, which at times flooded a third of the country.

“Life-threatening consequences” of climate change

As the Amnesty report shows, however, many people in the low-wage sector in particular have to continue to work outdoors, even in extreme heat. In addition, more than 40 million people across Pakistan lack access to electricity and thus to air conditioning or fans.

Dinushika Dissanayake, Deputy Regional Director of Amnesty South Asia, speaks in this context of the “life-threatening consequences” of climate change. Dissanayake said marginalized populations are being exposed to extreme temperatures that will continue to rise.

Amnesty calls on the government in Pakistan to implement a heat plan for cities to protect particularly vulnerable sections of the population. Rich nations also have a responsibility to reduce emissions and help Pakistan adapt to climate change. Although the country has hardly contributed to global greenhouse gas emissions, it is particularly hard hit by the effects of climate change.