Islamabad: We are witnessing around the world that global warming is leading to more volatile weather patterns, which causes worse humanitarian crisis. The fifth assessment report of Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), the UN body who advise the governments on climate change, indicates that if the world continues to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, global warming will cross two degrees Celsius threshold, agreed by governments as limiting the worst impacts of climate change, by the end of 21 century.
Do we ever think that what would happen to the world, when global temperature breaches the two (2) degree Celsius threshold?
Heat waves will be more frequent and last longer. Most wet regions will get more rainfall, and most dry regions less. Glaciers and Arctic sea ice cover will continue to shrink, and the sea level will rise more quickly. It would disturb the eco system, negatively affect human health and stresses on fresh water resources.
The worst has yet to come and this world would experience worse extreme weather events, if no concrete measures would be taken immediately. Climate experts believe that nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.
Climate change would cost huge loss and damages in term of economy and a large number of populations would come under poverty. Millions of people would displace only due to extreme weather events. It would also pose risk to global food security and up to twenty five (25) percent staple crop production would drop down in major parts of the world (Although the agriculture production has become reduce around the world due to changing in weather patterns).
For example in Pakistan, the world has already witnessed and experiences the dire consequences of climate change.
Only in 2010 devastated floods in Pakistan, the kind of extreme weather event which the IPCC says is the result of climate change, almost twenty two (22) million people were displaced, millions of houses were destroyed, several villages inundated and precious life loosed. These drastic floods inflicted losses on different sectors of the economy to the tune of forty three (43) billion dollars.
Pakistan has been ranked top a list of countries hit worst by weather extremes in 2012 by German watch. The index, which ranks countries affected over the last twenty years by weather extremes such as flooding and storms. Environmentalists estimate that environmental degradation cost Pakistan’s economy over Rs.365 billion every year.
There are enough evidences that climate change and environmental degradation, during past two to three decades, are turning to serious threats to human health and food security, water and energy security, and human and individual security. This reveals that climate change is a threat multiplier to all other threats.
Climate Change is a threat, which is transnational, and not just confined to national boundaries. It has become a serious challenge for global security.
The world has to adopt now, otherwise these rising climate change threats could cause serious consequences to global security. There is dire need of cross border information sharing regarding climate change and need of strong cooperation and collaboration among countries and regions as well.
The IPCC report also highlights that global warming will hit Asia the hardest, with flooding, famine and rising sea levels putting hundreds of millions at risk. But majority of the marginalized communities in the disaster prone areas have no knowledge, no capacity, and no early warning system to combat with harmful impact of climate change.
Having a lot of potential to tackle with the challenges of climate change, very least has been done regarding mitigation, preparedness, spreading awareness, and adaptation strategies.
There is need to strengthen the marginalized communities and develop their capacity in order to prevent them from huge loss and damages. Role of media is very crucial in spreading the awareness in every nook and corner of the region.
However, there is no significant measures have been taken so for in order to curb the challenges of climate change. Every time natural disasters came and we bear huge loss and damages in the form of infrastructure and more over loss of precious human lives.
Our natural resources are destroying due to negligence by the policy makers and poor capacity of the state to deal with the issue. Countries will not be able to address their development and poverty reduction priorities unless they reduce pollution, increase resilience to disasters, promote cleaner energy, better manage forests and natural capital, create livable cities and increase food security.
There is dire need for greater political wisdom to address policy gaps and policy should focus on adoption of frameworks being developed globally.
The writer is a public policy analyst and works at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad
Note: The article first published in The Express Tribune.