Climate disaster

 
October 19, 2020

The UN has said that climate change is largely to blame for a near doubling of natural disasters in the past 20 years. The fact is that global climate change is no longer a problem that may occur in...

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The UN has said that climate change is largely to blame for a near doubling of natural disasters in the past 20 years. The fact is that global climate change is no longer a problem that may occur in the distant future; the catastrophe is already upon us – and it’s growing at an unprecedented scale. Years of rising temperatures and melting polar ice caps have caused a massive increase in natural disasters. Famine has become more commonplace and may even have contributed to the civil wars we see around us. Coastal areas around the world may soon be inundated, creating millions of climate refugees. And yet the international community has been slow to respond.

The reality also is that emissions have continued to rise by 1.5 percent annually over the last decade, which is in the opposite direction of what is needed. Four years after the Paris accord on climate change was signed, the world has unfortunately moved in the opposite direction. This means that instead of the 2C increase target, the world is on track for a 3.2C temperature rise, which could cause chaos around the world. Criminally, the current model of economic growth around the world remains fuelled by oil and gas. This is unlikely to change radically soon. Even in advanced industrial countries, investment in green technologies is higher, but still nowhere near the levels needed. In this, the main responsibility falls on the G20 countries, which are responsible for 78 percent of carbon emissions. They need to increase their contribution to the fight against climate change by five-fold at least.

In Pakistan, the PTI government has at least acknowledged just how much of a threat climate change poses to us but there is a long way to go in fixing what is broken or has been neglected. As one of the countries predicted to suffer the most due to climate change, Pakistan should be operating on an emergency footing. We will only overcome the worst effects of climate change with concerted global action but every country needs to start doing its bit now. Around the country deforestation continues apace. Already a water-insecure nation, we are projected to have an emergency on our hands in the next two decades as the Indus and its tributaries dry up. Yet, beyond lip service, the world has done nothing to prepare for the calamity that awaits.



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