Menace of climate change | By Majid Hameed


Menace of climate change

THE industrial revolution of the eighteenth century is credited with entire progress which the humanity is witnessing and experiencing today. Excessive use of fossil fuels was required to run industries that resulted in the emission of copious amount of Carbon Dioxide into atmosphere. Consequently, world started to warm and the blue planet turned into hell and an unlivable place. Global warming is now an existential threat to humanity. The increasing temperatures of earth, melting of polar ice-sheets, rising of sea level and changing of weather patterns are some of the clear manifestations of climate change.

Numerous research studies have warned the world actors and stakeholders about the ever-rising and non-traditional security threat of climate change. However, the leading countries are seriously engaged in grinding their axes and ignoring the collective security of the environment. Recently, the sixth assessment report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) titled, “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate change”, reveals that the global temperature is expected to reach two centigrade in the next twenty years due to the emission of greenhouse gases; it may cause some serious unusual heat waves, horrific storms and extensive water scarcity. Similarly, according to the Washington Post world is losing 1.2 trillion tones of ice per year and global sea level is rising 15 mm annually.

The factors responsible for the menace of climate change are massive carbon emission, the greenhouse-effect, burgeoning thermal power plants, mushrooming population, excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, leapfrogging deforestation and other anthropogenic activities. According to Global Review Report 2021, global energy related to the carbon emission was surged by 1.5 billion tons in 2021- the second largest emission in the history. Besides, World Resource Institute pointed out the loss of over 12 million hectares of the forest in the world in 2020 alone.

Climate change poses serious threats to humanity such as depletion of ozone layer, frequent natural disasters, droughts, famine, food crisis, water scarcity, threat to marine life, extinction of species and economic losses. Recent report by NASA Ozone Watch 2021, “Ozone hole is 25 per cent largest in our record since 1979.” Taken together, World Economic Forum and World Meteorological Organization have warned if an increase in global temperature continues up to two centigrade, it will wipe out 18 percent of the global GDP by 2050 and it will cause water scarcity for the five billion population of the world by 2050, respectively.

Moreover, UN report titled “Dangerous Decline 2021”, declared that one million animals and plants are under a serious threat because of the anomalies in climate patterns. Natural Coral reef is also dying down because of warming of the oceanic water; it not only causes the extinction of many species but also affects the livelihood of many fishers. The agrarian society like Pakistan is badly affected by climate change, causing a decline in agriculture production and food crisis. Rising temperature has changed the lifestyle of people in various developing countries including India and Pakistan. Many farmers have started working in fields at night due to the extreme heat wave.

World actors and stakeholders have entered into various international commitments such as Montreal Protocol (1987), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC- 1992), Kyoto Protocol (2005), Paris Agreement (2015) and Conference of the Parties (COP26-2021) to cut the carbon emission and to limit the warming of the globe. These commitments, however, have remained unpractical towards the mitigation of the increasing implications of the climate anomalies. The sound economies of the world including Australia, United States of America and China emit 15.37 metric tons, 14.24 metric tons 07.41 metric tons of carbon gas, respectively. Howbeit, they are reluctant to take positive measures to counter this ever-rising hazard that causes serious tension across the under-developing economies.

To turn words into actions is the need of time, global North should invest in green energy projects that are eco-friendly and economical, imposing heavy embargoes on carbon emitters. Besides, they ought to finance global South to combat this rising menace of climate change, public awareness campaigns and forestation drives are pivotal to cope with it. The international community should abide by all climate-related pledges in letter and spirit. This way, earth can be saved from the catastrophe of climate change. “We are the first generation to feel the affect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” Barak Obama. There are the millions of galaxies and billions of planets in the universe. But there is “Only One Earth”.  Hence, it is high time that world leaders should join hands to save beautiful earth from destruction.

—The writer is Manager, Media & PR, National Transmission Dispatch Company, MOE-Power Division, Lahore.

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