Global warming: World Bank warns of grim future

05 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
Global warming: World Bank warns of grim future Rain affected people by flash floods after torrential rains hit Hyderabad, on August 2022.

eBusiness Weekly

Climate change and global warming are no longer buzzwords. They have emerged as clear indicators of an impending crisis that threatens the very fabric of global societies, economies, and food systems.

The year 2023 stands as a testament to this escalating challenge, having been recorded as the warmest year globally.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights a concerning 1,1-degree Celsius increase in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels, setting us on a path toward a 1,5-degree Celsius rise by 2030 if current trends persist unchecked.

The repercussions of this warming are felt most acutely in the developing world, where agriculture forms the backbone of livelihoods for over 80 per cent of the population.

The World Bank warns of a grim future where climate change could plunge an additional 100 million people into the depths of extreme poverty by 2030.

Smallholder farmers, in particular, face the brunt of this crisis, with potential yield losses of up to 50 per cent in critical staples crops such as rice and maize.

This dire situation is further compounded by the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) report of a 29 per cent increase in climate-related disasters over the last decade, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable segments of society in developing countries.

Pakistan serves as a poignant case study of the destructive capabilities of climate change, particularly exemplified by the devastating superfloods of 2022, which impacted over 33 million people.

Such calamities are not mere anomalies or isolated incidents but indicators of a systemic shift toward more unpredictable climate patterns, characterised by rising temperatures and the retreat of essential glaciers.

The economic toll of these environmental upheavals is staggering, with predictions of an 18-20 per cent reduction in Pakistan’s GDP by 2050 due to climate-related challenges.

The agricultural sector, a lynchpin of the national economy, faces significant risks, with reduced crop yields, compromised health of livestock, and jeopardized food security.

However, the societal implications extend beyond economic metrics, affecting millions through displacement, loss of livelihoods, and health crises post-climate disasters.

The most vulnerable populations, particularly children, confront severe repercussions such as stunted growth and a heightened susceptibility to diseases.

Climate change also increases the existing vulnerabilities of girls and women, as was reported after the superfloods of 2022.

In response, Pakistan has demonstrated decent engagement in global dialogues, such as COP27, advocating for the Loss and Damage fund agenda.

However, the scale of the crisis demands a more unified and comprehensive strategy, one that integrates national efforts with global cooperation to bolster Pakistan’s resilience against rapidly impending challenges.

Although foundational policies such as the National Climate Change Policy Framework 2013, the National Climate Change Policy 2021, and the Pakistan Climate Change Act of 2017 represent beacons of hope, their full potential remains unrealised due to institutional and strategic gaps.

The imperative is clear: move beyond ad hoc responses and fragmented governance to embrace a holistic, cross-sectoral approach to climate change.

The nascent National Climate Council and proposed National Climate Authority as well as Climate Change Fund signal a move towards this integrated strategy.

However, their success is contingent on clear mandates, sufficient resources, and a departure from siloed governmental operations.

The ambiguity surrounding the Climate Change Act’s provisions on funding, targets, and responsibilities further complicates the path to effective climate governance.

Explaining the compartmentalised climate governance in Pakistan, Dr Tariq Banuri rightly highlights in one of his papers that as in most countries, what is viewed as the climate agenda is a composite of several different agendas (Water Policy, Energy Policy, Agriculture Policy, Food Security Policy, Health Policy, etc).

The vast majority of these agendas fall decisively within the mandates of other, often far more powerful agencies and ministries than the ministry dedicated to tackling climate change. —The News Internatioal

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