Impact of Global Warming & Climate Change

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The changing climate patterns and global warming caused by carbon emissions pose a formidable threat to the dwellers of the earth. The site is increasing consciousness about this potential weapon of mass destruction. Disappointingly, few measures have taken in such concrete conditions to prevent this impending catastrophe. Environmental scientists believe that, if these emissions do not reduce or controlled, the global temperature might register a rise from 1.1 to 6.5 centigrade by the end of the 21st century. The gradual elevation of temperature imposing secondary effects including the changes in patterns of precipitation, rising sea level, altered patterns of agriculture, increased extreme weather conditions and expansion in the range of tropical diseases etc. The major contributor countries in the global warming are U.S, China, Russia, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, Japan, and Korea.

The possessions of global warming already felt not only by small and developing nations in the form of flash floods. The affluent countries confronting such issues in the form of rough conditions, hurricanes and severe flooding of the squared off regions as well. A frequent or abnormal rainfall also lists in the effects. In the opinion of the risks presented by global heating, the nations of the world concluded a treaty known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, committing themselves to act collectively to limit average global temperature increases, the ensuing climate change and to make do with whatever impacts were inevitable. Entirely the same, no substantial headway could make in this regard. According to the World Health Organization report:

“Around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths because of air pollution exposure. The observation more than doubles former approximations and approves that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health list.”

The inadequacy of the victuals of the convention regarding reductions in gasoline emissions, another agreement was proposed known as the Kyoto Protocol. The commission binds the developed nations to observe emission reduction objectives, closed in 1997. The first commitment period began in 2008 and ended in 2012. The second pledge initiated on 1 January 2013 and will conclude in 2020. Unfortunately, the US did not ratify the protocol and Canada withdrew from it in 2012. The second commitment period has also not been given legal cover as a rising number of countries, including Australia, the US, Japan, New Zealand, Belarus, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Norway, Switzerland and Russia remain reluctant to commit to these objectives. The developing nations have not set any binding targets, but they are still under the debt instrument to reduce their emissions. As appears, the acknowledged threats posed by global warming, the industrialised nations are not meeting their obligations properly and remain oblivious to imminent dangers posed by the climate change.

Environmental experts recommend two-pronged strategies to deal with the problem of global warming, i.e. adaptation to global warming and climate change mitigation. Adaptation to global warming is a response to global warming related to minimizing the exposures of the social and biological systems to the climate changes. Therefore, it offset the adverse impact of the phenomenon. It is a thought that adaptation is particularly important for the developing countries since they are more prone to the effects of climate alteration. However, the quandary is an adaptation inextricably related to the social and economic development. It might entail costs in the billions of dollars that are beyond the capability of most of them. Nonetheless, in recognition of this aspect, the donor countries promised to give $100 billion to the Green Climate Fund for developing countries for the purpose, but they are not forthcoming to carry through their commitments and assurances.

The adaptive approach believably needs to complement by Climate Change Mitigation also characterized as the reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions. It argued that none of the two approaches could succeed without each other. All the same, the costs involved estimated to be astronomically high, beyond the resources and capacity of the producing countries. Therefore, the industrialized countries that are responsible for the emanation of heat-trapping gases into the air, contributing to global warming and resultant climate changes, must not only address this issue seriously but also assist the developing nations in coping with the effects of global heating. It calls for concrete actions and dedication by the entire comity of nations, especially the developed countries as rightly pointed out by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his address to UN General Assembly saying,

“We need to respond with the common but differentiated responsibility to the menace presented by climate change. Partisan interests must not stick out in the path of an ambitious and collective commitment to stop and reverse the damage caused to our planet.”

The United Nations Framework conventions on climate change have joined hands with the International Community to combat the Climatic change. The result was stuck out and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly A/RES/70/1.

“Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in particular, its goal 13, and the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the third International Conference on Financing for Development and the espousal of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Picking out that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet. This calls for the broadest possible cooperation by all nations, and their participation in an efficacious and appropriate international response, with a view of acceleration of the reduction of worldwide greenhouse gas discharges. The resolution also acknowledged the deep reductions in worldwide emissions. These resolutions will need in order to attain the ultimate objective of the Convention and emphasizing the need for urgency in addressing climate change. Recognising that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, and the rights of native people. An ambitious collective goal of UNFCC is to hold warming well below 2 degrees with efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. To bound greenhouse gas emissions, to peak as soon as possible, and to achieve net-zero emissions in the second half of this century. These are the demands for mitigation measures of individual countries to express in nationally determined contributions (NDCs). A mechanism for states to achieve NDCs jointly, sharing mitigation targets, and a mechanism for states to join forces in achieving NDCs, countries can meet their NDC targets by transferring ‘mitigation outcomes’ internationally – either in the setting of emission trading or to appropriate results-based payments. The mechanism applied for the private and public entities to support sustainable development projects that generate transferable emission reductions. A non-punitive compliance mechanism is an expert based and a facilitator in nature.

The environmental pollution is due to several factors that also leads to global warming and frequent natural calamities. The carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the air is about 30%, which issued due to the combustion of fossil fuels, transportation, and electricity generation. The Chloroform Carbons (CFC) are relatively responsible for Ozone depletion, whereas, the Methane, released from cattle farms, is one of the greenhouse gases that contribute to the global warming. The mining activities of oil and other mineral extraction disturb the soil flora. The water vapors are in the eminent amount in an atmosphere which carbon dioxide-induced warming. As estimated, the two-thirds (2/3) of the greenhouse gases are being the trapped by these vapors. Another hazard of the global warming is the rise in the Sea level due to the melting of glaciers of Antarctica and Greenland as researched by the scientists.

Pakistan has previously staggered under the impact of climate change that caused the worst floods in 2010 and this year that badly affected 23 districts in Punjab, 5 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 10 in AJK causing damage to the infrastructure and crops worth billions of bucks. The most concerning aspect is that these floods now have become almost an annual feature in Pakistan. According to the experts, if these floods keep devastating Pakistan with the frequency with which they have performed in the last five years, the economic system of the country might easily collapse. Pakistan’s problem, linked to floods has further worsened by a continuous deployment of forces in Siachen Glacier. Indian forces in 1984 violated all international norms and sneaked into the Pakistani soil. Since that, the Indian forces are not only occupying this glaciated terrain but causing havoc to the ecological balance of the total region as well. On that point, there are uncountable reports on adverse climate change due to massive Indian military activity in this area. Ironically, Pakistan’s efforts for a peaceable settlement of the issuance and withdrawal of powers have met a cold reaction from India. The reportedly Indian military is the biggest hurdle in the result of this vital matter that is not limited to military domain only but can be a harbinger of climatic catastrophe.

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. Around 176 million people live here and as estimated it would grow double after 25 years. However, a number of serious environmental problems are inherent in the countries, which are of great ecological concern in terms of its sustainable economic future of Pakistan. Few of them are soil erosion, marine water pollution, deforestation, urban pollution, water logging and salinity, freshwater pollution and excessive pesticide usage. Unfortunately, Pakistan suffers from the agriculture runoff, untreated sewage water, and industrial wastes. Freshwater resources are limited; a majority of people do not have access to the clean drinking water. According to an estimate, around 250 gallons of untreated water out of Karachi, disposed of directly into the Arabian Sea. It poses serious life threat to the humans and the ecosystem. The environmental factors caused mortality in children of Pakistan, which ranks highest in South Asia. Environmental damages constitute up to 30% of the diseases in the country. According to a report, more than 45% infants dead due to diarrhoea and almost 60% diseases are water-borne. The prominent cities of Pakistan including Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad confront excessive noise pollution that leads to the auditory issues, sleeplessness, stress, and cardiovascular diseases. Noise pollution is due to the buses, rickshaws, cars, and water tankers. According to the study, an average noise level on the roads of Karachi is almost 90dB and is going to elevate up to 110 dBs. However, the standard ISO’s noise level is 70dB.

The environmental conditions in Pakistan are getting worse. Recently, in November 2016, Pakistan badly affected from the Smog. The areas of Punjab including Lahore and its adjoining areas and New Delhi hid by the thick blanket of pollutants. Due to it, the sunlight could not reach the ground. However, the problem is intensifying over the time, because of the increase in vehicles and industrialisation. Nonetheless, Pakistan’s sanitation condition also getting shoddier. The three cities of Pakistan, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, and Karachi list among top 10 most polluted and filthy cities of the world. Due to lack of waste management system, air and sound pollution, industrial emissions, open burning of garbage, and ill- maintained vehicles, placed an adverse effect on the health of the citizens.

Pollution can reduce by numerous ways, and are economically suitable for all countries. Keep Windmills and Photo-voltaic technology to generate electricity, they will not emit greenhouse gases or any kind of pollution, and photo-voltaic is the favored form of the renewable resources. On the contrary, Hydro energy is one of the best sources of electricity generation. However, such approaches used in Pakistan as well and will not require the diesel and other fuels to generate electricity that is the major source to increase the economy of a state.

Dealing with the climate change related issues, therefore, requires top priority, commitment, and putting together an effective and imaginative strategy in the context of adaptation on the impact of environmental change. Simultaneously, launch an awareness campaign regarding the environmental issues and sensitizing the business and industrial communities with regard to their responsibilities while maintaining the health of the environment. Pakistani media are enjoying the freedom of expression and contributing to the national effort on the political and economic fronts only. It is their compulsion and a national obligation to sensitize the public about the gravity of the place and highlight at the international level the predicament that Pakistan faces due to the climate change. They need to blowout it with a view to strengthening government efforts to mobilize necessary technical and financial assistance that needs to cope with the threatening environmental challenges.

Sana Zehra is a Microbiologist and have keen interest in writing, a patriot and willing to be an aspiring writer.

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