Associated Press of Pakistan
Associated Press of Pakistan
Climate change has emerged as a dangerous global phenomenon posing
serious threats to human development and resulting in food and water
scarcity, floods, cyclones and droughts.
This phenomenon would severely affect human health, agricultural produce, water security, ecosystems and increased exposure of the people to coastal flooding and extreme weather events.
Climate change would make 2.6 billion poor across the globe more vulnerable who neither have any control over it nor have any voice to curtail emissions.
Drought-prone areas in sub-Saharan Africa will face different problems from flood-prone areas in South Asia.
But, there is consensus that the phenomenon would result in an overall hampering of human development, adding to pre-existing social and economic vulnerabilities.
United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) has identified five specific risk-multipliers of human development reversals, they are: reduced agricultural productivity, heightened water insecurity, increased exposure to coastal flooding and extreme weather events, collapse of ecosystems and increased health risks.
In its Human Development report, the UN agency has pointed to around three-quarters of the world's population living on less than $1 a day and depending directly on agriculture who would be suffering severe losses.
Climate change scenarios point to large losses in productivity for staple food linked to drought and rainfall variation in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and South and East Asia.
Accelerated glacial melt in the Himalayas will compound already severe ecological problems across northern China, India and Pakistan.
By 2080, climate change could increase the number of people facing water scarcity around the world by 1.8 billion.
The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has also forecast an increase in extreme weather events as droughts and floods are already the main drivers of a steady increase in climate-related disasters.
On an average, around 262 million people were affected each year between 2000 and 2004 with over 98 percent of them living in developing countries.
Drought-affected areas will increase in extent jeopardizing livelihood and compromising progress in health and nutrition as increase in temperatures will fuel more violent tropical cyclones.
Temperature increase would accelerate the sea level causing widespread displacement of people in certain areas and the inundation of several small island states. The magnitude of displacement and coastal flooding victims may rise up to 230 million.
Ecosystem would be under high stress and 20-30 percent species would be at `high risk' of extinction. Coral reef systems, already in decline, would suffer extensive `bleaching' leading to the transformation of marine ecologies, with large losses to biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Climate change will impact human health and an additional 220-400 million people globally could be at increased risk of malaria.
Deaths would increase in S-Saharan Africa and more people will fall ill in other risk-prone areas.
Though climate change scenarios do not predict when or where a specific climate event might happen, yet the people may be warned of average probabilities associated with emerging climate patterns.
The IPCC and the United Nations have effectively shouldered the responsibility to warn nations of harmful emissions and bring them to a platform to discuss the issue and come out with the workable solutions.The poor and developing nations are trying to convince the major emitters of carbon dioxide like USA, China, India and other nations to curtail emissions.
The situation would not be different in other poor countries as even a small risk of droughts can lead to large human development setbacks.
In this scenario, the developed nations with massive gas emissions need to realise their responsibility and let the poor also have a say to safeguard their interests. Let it never be too late to mend, and let us start it now.
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