A new report on climate change has sent alarm bells ringing among climate scientists. It says that climate change and sea level rise are currently on track to wipe out half the world’s sandy beaches by the end of this century. And the report links the global coastal degradation to global warming which is caused by humanity’s fossil fuel combustion i.e. the burning of coal, oil and gas which in turn produces environmentally harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O). The climate change phenomenon includes global warming and its effects, although the two are often used interchangeably.
For starters, climate change skeptics must remember that over the past 50 years the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. Each of the last three decades has been warmer than all previous decades since statistical surveys began in 1850.
As Pakistan is among countries considered most vulnerable to climate change, it is essential that we take immediate steps to combat it. First and foremost, we must move away from fossil fuels and focus on renewable energies such as solar, wind, biomass and geothermal. We must also reduce our consumption of energy and water through the use of more efficient devices such as LED light bulbs and innovative shower systems, promote methods such as public transportation and carpooling to help reduce CO2 emissions, emphasise construction of low energy buildings and renovation of existing ones in order to reduce CO2 emissions due to heating, air conditioning, hot water and lighting, and prioritise afforestation as well as greener and more efficient agriculture. Additionally, recycling must be emphasised and a waste management strategy devised for our mountainous areas where garbage is simply thrown in rivers and burnt in the open, hugely compounding the problem.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2020.