Mitigating the climate change conundrum – Global Village space
Climate change is a cross-border problem and therefore, its mitigation and adaptation need a global approach. The world witnessed the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) in the last quarter of the previous year (2021), held between 31st October and 12th November in Glasgow, Scotland, since the talks were postponed in April 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, the world is about to witness the upcoming COP27, which will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. This will be a mirror image of the resumption of the yearly conference on climate change.
A big concerning question is; although through the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, countries decided to lessen their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; but still, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere keeps rising at an alarming rate, why? The years after the Paris Agreement were recorded as the warmest; and amongst those, NASA analysis revealed the years 2016 and 2020, as ‘the hottest years’. In a similar perspective, the ‘funeral ceremony of the country’s first Okjökull glacier in Iceland in August 2019, severe global warming, cyclones and flooding, economic collapse, human displacement, mass famine, child malnutrition and casualties, sanitation issues and shortage of potable water in certain regions are some of the few reactions to climate insecurities.
Understanding the matter better
According to the International Organization for Migration, hundreds of millions of people could be displaced by 2050 owing to the adverse effects of global warming. The National Climate Assessment (NCA) estimates about $160 billion in lost wages by 2090, due to the lower productivity instigated by the amplified heat. According to Climate Watch data, today, our energy needs are met by more than three-quarters of human-made toxic emissions. Our atmosphere today’s containing 42% more carbon dioxide than it did before the industrial revolution in the late 18th century.
The countries that are least responsible for the cause of climate change will ultimately suffer the most from its consequences. Pakistan is amongst the countries, most affected by the climate crisis. The recent flood-like incidents in most parts of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh are examples of the disastrous effect of climate insecurities.
Climate change is real and in fact, we humans are the focal problem of its cause. The projected consequences of global warming will get worse with the elevation in average temperatures. In fact, the levels of GHGs in the atmosphere have risen to levels not seen in three million years. Therefore it is a need for time to explore, mitigate and adapt measures so to get rid of the terrible costs of climate change.
Here’s the list of some key recommendations:
- Carbon neutral: The world’s pledge of carbon neutral or net-zero to meet the Paris Agreement by 2050 is a good step in minimizing the impacts of climate change. However, strict measures by the world order are needed if we consider the climate crisis a serious issue. The major chunk of the power division of the developed countries like China, the USA, and India (these three countries together contribute to the consumption of about 54% of the world’s fossil fuels by weight) is still based on non-renewable sources such as coal and petroleum that result in releasing a large portion of poisonous gases to the environment. Therefore, the world needs attention from transforming ‘negotiation’ to ‘implementation’.
- Climate awareness program: The nationwide awareness program should be initiated and pursued with much enthusiasm so as to acknowledge citizens of the terrible climate crisis. This would result in extending basic information and common knowledge about climate change to the public.
- Carbon tax: This approach sets a tax rate on the release of toxic gases or on the carbon content of fossil fuels. The carbon tax was firstly introduced by Great Britain in 2013 that encouraged electric utilities as the preferred alternative to coal. A such endorsement would certainly influence a drop in the country’s toxic emissions.
- Assisting climate-vulnerable nations: The developed and industrialized countries which are grossly responsible for GHG emissions should come forward and financially help the under-developing countries in mitigating the climate inequalities. This will develop a coherent and mutually inclusive environment, and therefore will yield a positive outcome.
- Transformation to electric transport: The transformation of a country’s transport sector from non-renewable to renewable sources (solar, electric, hybrid, etc.) is one of the best options in mitigating the issue of climate change. There will be a significant role of sustainable and hybrid technologies in transforming public transport systems from fossil fuels to emission-free alternatives.
- Adopting global agreements: It is much needed to implement global rules, formed under the circumstances of global agreements because the selfishness of any country in the present case would have terrible effects on the preservation of the ecosystem. Developing and promoting the sustainable use of land, and urgent afforestation and reforestation programs should be initiated at the very first so to tackle the climate emergency. In the case of Pakistan, projects like the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami initiative, National Parks establishment, and Wetlands- and Wildlife-Reforestation programs are some of the key enterprises we’re working on to fulfill the global promises.
- Forestations: It is our social responsibility to avoid deforestation and degradation. Early plantations and their preservations ought to be done on a large scale because it offers a way for anyone to take advantage of the huge amounts of carbon stored in the woods. In Pakistan, the forest-covered area was about 4.8% in 2020 which is much lower than the average accepted cover area for each country. Though, for the past few years, there has been a positive predicament because of the core initiative like the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami program; however, still our country is far away from achieving the world’s average forest-covered area.
- Individuals’ responsibility: Every human has the right to live in a clean, green, and sustainable environment, but at the same time, there are certain obligations the individuals ought to perform in better ways in order to preserve the environment. It is our collective duty to make the community a sustainable one, by adopting climate-supportive practices.
The writer is an Early Carrier Researcher. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.