Cli­mate threat

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

Cli­mate change is a re­al­ity which stares us in the face. For sev­eral years now, sci­en­tific stud­ies have been warn­ing of cli­mate change caused by in­creased green­house gas emis­sions, and the risks it car­ries for global pop­u­la­tions and their ways of life. Ac­cord­ing to the an­nual ' State of the Cli­mate Re­port 2017', to which 500 cli­mate scientists from around the world con­trib­uted, 2016 was the sec­ond warm­est ever recorded on Earth. And last year was not far be­hind with­out an El Nino oc­cur­rence - a pe­ri­od­i­cal cli­matic event hap­pen­ing in the Pa­cific Ocean due to rise in sur­face wa­ter tem­per­a­tures with ex­ten­sive im­pact on phys­i­cal con­di­tions within the oceans as well as on global weather.

Strangely, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, has been call­ing global warm­ing a "hoax" and a "con­cept... cre­ated by and for the Chi­nese in or­der to make US man­u­fac­tur­ing non-com­pet­i­tive. Last year, he de­cided to pull out of the Paris Agree­ment that set the long-term goal of keep­ing the in­crease in global av­er­age tem­per­a­tures to well be­low 2 de­grees C above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els by lim­it­ing the in­crease to 1.5 C. The re­port, over­seen by the US Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion and re­leased by the Amer­i­can Metro­log­i­cal So­ci­ety, goes on to note that the an­nual global av­er­age CO2 con­cen­tra­tion on Earth's sur­face was "the high­est in mod­ern at­mo­spheric mea­sure­ments recorded, and in ice core record dat­ing back as far as 800,000 years."

The global growth rate of CO2 has nearly quadru­pled since the early 1960s. The re­sult is that in May last year, ice in the Arc­tic reached its low­est max­i­mum level in 37 years - some­thing not seen in the re­gion for the last 2000 years. And through­out 2017, the sea ice in the Antarc­tic re­gion re­mained be­low av­er­age. Con­di­tions on land were not any dif­fer­ent. Glaciers lost mass for the 38th con­sec­u­tive year, which is like slic­ing 22 me­ters off the top of an av­er­age glacier. Fur­ther­more, says the re­port, three years of un­remit­ting warm­ing has been the "long­est, most wide­spread and al­most cer­tainly most de­struc­tive" co­ral bleach­ing event, also badly af­fect­ing ocean ecosys­tems while the global av­er­age sea lev­els reached the high­est level in the 25-year satel­lite record.

In Pak­istan, the world's high­est tem­per­a­ture ever for May was recorded on May 28 in Tur­bat, with a high of 128.3 de­grees Fahren­heit (53 Cel­sius). Go­ing by cur­rent news ac­counts of ab­nor­mally high tem­per­a­tures in parts of Europe and North Amer­ica, 2018 may well be en course of be­com­ing the fourth hottest year in a row.Al­though Pak­istan has a neg­li­gi­ble car­bon foot­print, it is one of the coun­tries most vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate change, and ranks among the top 10 wa­ter-stressed na­tions -facts that hold dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences for its agri-based econ­omy.

The coun­try has al­ready been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ex­treme weather events in the form of re­cur­ring floods, droughts, and er­ratic weather pat­terns. Yet en­vi­ron­ment fig­ured nowhere in suc­ces­sive govern­ments' list of pri­or­i­ties. The last govern­ment did el­e­vate cli­mate change from a di­vi­sion level to min­istry but, ap­par­ently, only to cre­ate a cab­i­net po­si­tion for a loy­al­ist. The min­is­ter nei­ther had rel­e­vant ex­pe­ri­ence nor the nec­es­sary re­sources at his dis­posal to un­der­take any mean­ing­ful ini­tia­tive. The in­com­ing PTI govern­ment's lead­er­ship has raised hopes of bet­ter­ment, de­vot­ing con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion to the is­sue in its man­i­festo as well as elec­tion cam­paign. Ex­perts ex­pect it to come up with an ur­gent and well thought-out plan of ac­tion to com­bat the ris­ing threat of cli­mate change.

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