How climate change is impacting our societies

Climate change is the most urgent global crisis, and Pakistan is at the heart of the problem, yet it has only contributed less than 1% to greenhouse gas emissions. There's so much damage and loss with so little compensation to nations that have contributed only a tiny amount to the global carbon footprint.

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Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene: A period that started from the mid-20th century when human activities began to impact the environment, specifically ecosystems and climate, has started. The current epoch started after 12,000 years of stable climate during which all human civilizations developed. But the striking acceleration since the mid-20th century of carbon dioxide emissions, rising sea levels, the global mass extinction of species, and the transformation of land by deforestation has changed the world after thousands of years of a stable climate.


There is compelling evidence to show that Humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, A study by Waters et, (2016). Titled “The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene,” published in Science351(6269), aad2622, provides strong evidence that from the amount of concrete Humanity uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans, Earth has entered into a new geological epoch.


Read more: Pakistan floods were aggravated by climate change

Humans are altering the planet at an alarming rate


The rich polluting countries are predominantly blamed for this transition while developing countries like Pakistan are victims. The increased global carbon footprint resulting from industrialization, urbanization, and transportation in advanced countries has increased the world’s temperature by 1.2c compared to the pre-industrial age: 1850. Pakistan is very much dependent on the moon soon rain cycle, which is very sensitive to minor changes in temperature. Resultantly, Pakistan has become the most victimized nation by global warming and climate change.


This year’s monsoon turned out to be monstrous for Pakistanis. Over 1550 deaths have occurred, which does not include those killed by waterborne disease aftermath. The several weeks of monstrous monsoon were unprecedented that ravaged the nation. Just a few weeks ago, the country was experiencing severe suffering from drought. Over 200 bridges and 3000 miles of telecom lines have collapsed or been damaged. More than 33 million people were affected. This number will likely rise as authorities conduct damage surveys in the coming week. In the districts of the Sindh province that produce 50 percent of the country’s food supply, 90% of the crops are destroyed. The unprecedented continuous torrential rains that are 700 to 5000 percent more than the average in August have destroyed whole villages and fields of agriculture in most of rural Sindh. 


Climate change is the most urgent global crisis, and Pakistan is at the heart of the problem, yet it has only contributed less than 1% to greenhouse gas emissions. There’s so much damage and loss with so little compensation to nations that have contributed only a tiny amount to the global carbon footprint. It indicates that the deal between the North, wealthy nations, and the South, developing countries, is not fair and just.


Read more: Why it’s time to take the climate change crises seriously

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres rightly maintained that Humanity had declared war on nature, which is tracking back, but the character is blind. It is not striking back on those who have contributed more to the war on nature. Pakistan has contributed little to climate change but is one of the countries most affected by its consequences. It is like nature has attacked the wrong targets. It should be those that are more responsible for climate change should have to face these challenges. The international community must drastically reduce emissions and support countries that need to invest in resilience and recovery.


It is the question of the day whether advanced countries are willing to sacrifice the lifestyle that is too resource-intensive and responsible for global warming to save the world. There is good news from the research by Bell, J., Poushter & Huang, C. (2021) conducted in 17 advanced nations spanning Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America. According to findings, there is a general concern over the impact of global warming on people’s lives. Many people want to change their to reduce their environmental impact.


However, the business empires, the beneficiaries of resource-intensive high mass consumption, are not ready to alter their business models. Fossil fuels: coal, oil, and gas companies that generate 80% of the world’s carbon emissions are still investing in new explorations. The auto and electronics industries promote a high mass consumption lifestyle. These big business giants have also invested in politics to get policies in their favor in advanced and developing countries.


The chronic nexus of business and politics contains the green reforms all over the globe, thus contributing to the Anthropocene. However, we hope that awareness and concern about the environment that is prevailing across the globe will put pressure on the world government to reform their growth strategies to save the world from the imminent threat of climate change.


Dr. Abid Rashid Gill is Chairman Economics Department, and Director of Green Campus, the Islamia University Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

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