Speakers at the 10th Ziauddin University Dialogues titled “Global Warming: From Climate Change to Climate Crisis said that climate change is affecting our country’s economy and health, floods are taking place, glaciers are melting and the study says less developed countries have different reasons to cause climate change as compared to more developed countries.

The 10th ZU Dialogues was organized by the Ziauddin University to get the opinion and analysis of the experts about the climate change which affects the world and the challenges, risk factors, and initiatives, if global temperatures rise by 2050.

Renowned environmentalist Ashiq Ahmad Khan said that climate change is something that is evident to all. The places where we saw temperatures in low degrees have reached below zero degrees. As a field man roaming all over the country, I no longer see the beauty of the nature due to climate change. The nature is dead now. One good example is that of Misgar in Hunza, which had really excellent pastures, that pasture is watered by a neighboring glacier that is melting away, animal life is now disappearing, and a lot has changed as a result of climate change.

“When I look at the reasons for it, there are several factors that are all working together to push current climate change to the point where it’s a climate risk due to a lack of governance and effort. I believe that if we combine ecosystem restoration with research and business knowledge, we can save what’s left”, he further added.

Environmental lawyer Ahmad Rafay Alam explained that the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change which was signed in 1992 is a major international legal document that regulates how we deal with the challenges of climate crises. Fundamental to UNFCCC, is the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. his was repeated in UNFCCC recognizing historical equities by developing nations to less-developed nations.

The UNFCCC’s objectives were to stabilize greenhouse gas submissions. Greenhouse gasses, things that we take from the ground to burn for our energy, are responsible for increasing temperatures in the climate crisis. The UNFCCC stabilizes greenhouse gas submissions so that there wouldn’t be any dangerous damage to the global ecosystem. We are now at a 420-part carbon concentration in the atmosphere, a level never seen for the last 20 to 25 million years, which is longer than human beings have been on earth.

We are approximately 1 to 1.1 degrees warmer than we were before the industrial revolution, we are already witnessing this year floods in Europe; forest fires in the United States; heatwaves in Canada that have killed hundreds of people. Heatwave in Pakistan last year was declared a national emergency. l so, due to climate change we see forest fire in the Arctic for the first time in recorded history and human beings have plastics in their bodies and only at 1 degree of warming there is no safe place. There have been approximately 150 million of deaths in Asian and African cities due to air pollution including smoggy Lahore experiencing air pollution caused by the greenhouse gas.

Environmental journalist Rina Saeed Khan said in her statement “to the contrary I believe it is adequately reported in our media. What happened in 2010, we had something called super floods that hit Pakistan, there was unprecedented rainfall up in the high mountain Karakorum, water came rushing down because Pakistan is at an incline from 0 meters to 8600 level meters which is the top of K2. This topic of climate change used to be in some backstories of the newspaper but now it’s on the front pages., In Islamabad we faced unreasonably long summers due to changes in climate. Last year I organized an event on climate change.

As you can see, air pollution in Pakistan’s crowded cities is putting people’s health and the environment in jeopardy. As you could see, during COVID peak, when there were no automobiles on the roads, the sky began to appear blue and clear. The study found that due to COVID, all factories were stopped, machinery was not used as much, automobiles were less on the road, and airplanes were not flying, and the world air was pure and clear.

Talking about the health threats caused because of climate change Prof. Dr. Abbas Zafar explains “this is a very important topic to look at the effects of climate change on population health, and we all agree that the people who cause the problems are the wealthy and rich while the people who suffer are the poor countries, particularly Asians. Look at COVID and the type of healthcare provision in this part of the world, we just had a peak of not so much less than neighboring countries, and that exposed our poor healthcare system and we are really exhausted. According to the WHO, in 2030 or 2050 climate change is expected to cause 250000 additional deaths per year from malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress because of climate”.

“When we consider the health consequences of the degradation of physical, biological, and ecological systems, we split those concerns into temperature-related diseases and fatalities. One of the most important things we fail to notice is our mental condition and the mental stress we are experiencing as a result of climate change. This is a key issue that everyone should discuss. If we take the direct impact of heat that the body can maintain, which is around 32 degrees, we lose heat from the skin and sweat. A few years ago, when we faced heat strokes and the body temperature dropped to control the heat, many people died as a result of the situation.

Many ailments, including pneumonia and asthma, have been caused by air pollution in areas where the situation is worse. Our country’s healthcare system is inadequate, it will be difficult for us to control the effects of climate change. We must begin training people on how to deal with difficulties and diseases that may arise as a result of this circumstance” He concluded

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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