The planet’s SOS call for climate justice
Around 10 million people are homeless, and more than 300 are dead. 100 % of the cotton and sugar cane crops are destroyed.
We have lost the interprovincial road connectivity. ” said the Chief Minister of Sindh province, Murad Ali Shah.
Only during the past few months, thousands of people in flash floods, unexpected rainfalls, rockslides, and landslides in Himachal Pradesh (India), Sydney (Australia), West Papua (Indonesia) Indonesia, Darfur (Sudan), and Texas (the US), Another dimension of climate change is more intense heat waves, drying out of the soil causing droughts in China, Southern Africa, North America, and the UK.
As the baseline temperature is increased, it is thirty times more likely to have periodic heat waves in different parts of the world than we would have without climate change.
According to WHO, 1700 deaths are recorded this year due to heat-waves in Spain and Portugal alone.
Wildfires, with intense implications in southern Europe, are now occurring as far north as Scandinavia. 41 homes are destroyed in London due to these fires.
China suffers through its longest and frightening heat wave. 70 days of scorching weather caused forests and bushfires.
Payong Lake, China’s largest freshwater reservoir, and Yangtze River, Asia’s longest waterway are getting almost dry.
Worldwide, more than two billion people lack access to clean water and climate change is worsening it.
Drought is ravaging New-Mexico where farm animals are dying, harvests are disrupted, and people are facing extreme water scarcity.
Hungry faces the worst drought over a period of 120 years. The world’s largest freshwater reservoir in the form of ice, the Tibetan Plateau, called Asia’s water tower, a source of 10 major Asian river systems flowing into 10 countries, that springs fresh water for two billion people in Central Asia, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, is warming and melting.
Tens of thousands of flying foxes died due to an increase in average temperature in Australia.
Some scientists believe that 8% of species could face extinction only due to climate change.
This is not just about losing the wonders of nature. The loss of the smallest organism destabilizes the world’s ecosystems, the networks that support the whole of life on Earth.
According to the Paris Agreement, 40% of the world’s carbon emissions need to be cut down, which becomes an immense task after the pandemic, and also the energy crises in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The challenge is to hit a trade-off between manufacturing and carbon cuts amid supply chain shortages and logistic insecurity in the world’s industrial cycle due to other factors like power shortages, pandemics, and wars.
Japan shut down its nuclear power generation plants accounting for 31% of the total power generation following the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster in 2010.
Recently, Japan again switched on its fossil fuel plants when 5000 people faced heat strokes and were hospitalized due to a blistering heat wave to keep the energy-intensive air conditioning units on.
In short, this is the planet’s SOS call. A radical and rapid decarbonisation is inevitable. The next decade is decisive to choose between a liveable planet and consumption. Still, climate is not the top priority in the international power discourse.
The highest responsibility rests with the countries that pollute my planet the most—the superpowers and few others.
They need to realize that the cost of their high-tech life, luxury, and military-industrial complexes is being paid by those living in mud houses with lowest human quality index, running their economies on cattle, crops, and fruits.
The world needs crash programs to fund forests cultivation and renewable energy power projects.
The planet needs climate justice as soon as possible. Otherwise, many environmentalists are of the opinion that it is already late because we have crossed the reversible limit of destruction in natural ecosystems.
—The writer is an academic, columnist and public policy researcher, based in Karachi.