World’s peace amid climate catastrophe | By Waqar Hassan

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World’s peace amid climate catastrophe

PROSPERITY and development are worthless if they cost life and survival. Climate change has become a nuisance for the entire world, and scientists link it to our gruesome overexploitation of the earth.

The dark shadow of climate catastrophe is looming over the world, hinting at the approaching storm of rising global conflicts.

Ironically, developed countries have turned a deaf ear to the voice of the climate; if humans keep jettisoning the climate, the world might land in a whirlpool of chaos, conflict, and schism.

Climate change occurs inconspicuously. However, the iniquitous activities of the developed countries have jacked up the rate of this change.

It was, once, happening at a measurable speed. Today, it is happening at an unimaginable pace. 99.5 of climate scientists agree that humans have brought this curse, which is now endangering their survival.

It is a self-inflicted agony, and its tenebrific face is getting unmasked now, inviting a doomsday scenario for the dwellers of the earth.

Heat waves, variable rainfall patterns, and unexpected changes in weather patterns are jeopardizing the dovish and peaceful co-existence of humanity.

Climate change is putting the world’s peace in the doldrums in various ways: First, because of the rapid change in the climate, water scantiness has become a macabre reality.

Our glaciers are depleting fast. Researchers believe that most central and eastern Himalayan glaciers could virtually disappear by 2035, and freshwater shortages can trigger a global conflict in the times to come.

Climate change is negatively affecting the flow of many transboundary rivers.

Water-related issues have been developing simmering tensions among nations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

The river Nile passes through a dozen countries. The Jordan River feeds various countries in the Middle East. In Asia, the River Indus shares water with Pakistan and India.

The threat will become ever more bodacious with the ever-increasing demand for freshwater by the riparian states of these rivers.

Second, climate change has increased the evaporation of water bodies, resulting in the drying out of soil and vegetation, giving birth to droughts.

Droughts bring unbearable misery to humanity. In Syria, it triggered a social conflict on the scale of a civil war.

Third, the fury of climate change has exposed the world to food shortages by affecting agricultural output.

As of today, almost two billion people are facing food insecurity. According to UNFAO, almost 811 million people have suffered from hunger in 2020.

Likewise, a devastating flood, a child of climate change, anywhere in the world disrupts the food supply, giving birth to food shortages that ultimately trigger a spike in inflation, bringing social unrest.

Fourth, heat waves, a product of climate change, have also been brutally burning our forests, wiping out species of plants and wildlife.

These heat waves have affected 200 to 250 species of plants and animals globally. The phenomenon of heat waves is sinister.

Heat waves feed more moisture into the atmosphere, increasing precipitation which multiplies the threat of flooding.

Fifth, small islands, which are also home to prospering civilizations, might vanish from this planet because of the rising sea- levels in the aftermath of climate change.

Many small islands developing states (SIDS) such as Maldives, Tuvalu, and Kiribati might face permanent extinction because of the rising sea level.

Sixth, floods and rising sea levels have the potential to trigger forced migrations threatening regional and international peace. Scientists predict migration will increase as the planet gets hotter.

Over the next 30 years, 143 million people are likely to be displaced by rising seas, drought, high temperatures, and other climate-related disasters, according to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published this year.

Not only this, climate change has inflicted the menace of environmental degradation. Today, our megacities present a gloomy picture of a dying civilization, and many developing countries blame developed countries for this emerging threat.

Hence, climate change is a genuine threat to the world’s peace. It is affecting the health of millions, damaging infrastructure, compromising agricultural production, restricting tourism, fueling water-related conflicts, and generating forced migrations.

It is also damaging global economies, destroying our ecosystem, and inviting the menace of environmental degradation.

As a rising tide floods all houses, the changing climatic patterns might generate dissonance and discordance among nations by jeopardizing the food supply, shrinking the water availability, and destroying the ecological system.

The sands of time are running out. Preferring the sustainability of our climate over everything else is crucial now.

It is time to make hay till the sun shines, and sagacious measures to avert climate change can turn the tide in our favor.

Climate change is a risk enhancer. Disharmony among states owing to climate-related tragedies can trigger a global conflict.

Sadly, there is a lacklustre response from the world’s community on tackling climate change.

Such negligence can put the peace of this planet at stake, as peace is a luxury that is not readily available for the wicked and the weary.

—The writer is CSS Officer, based in Sargodha.