Rising cost of climate change

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ACCORDING TO an important leaked draft of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), humans are responsible for global warming, rising sea levels and extreme weather events and that a rise in global average temperatures since pre-industrial times is set to exceed 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, and may reach 4.8 Celsius. This prediction seems believable if one looks back to the gradual increase in global temperature as human activities had caused large-scale changes in oceans, in ice sheets or mountain glaciers, and in sea levels in the second half of the last century. Regular emission of greenhouse gases and environmental degradation are blamed for the global warming leaving no way out, at least so far, for the human as well as the biodiversity but to bear the brunt of it heavily. Fresh estimates suggest that the cost of climate change is on the steep rise in terms of threats to agriculture, economy, human life and biodiversity. Pakistan is no exception in this regard. A World Bank report says that $3.57 billion need to be spent in the coming 18 years to deal with the affects of climate change in Pakistan. The low level of seriousness on the part of third world countries towards climate change can be understandable due to lack of awareness and paucity of funds, but it is more painful when the developed and influential states fail to make any progess on their part. The most recently held United Nations conference aimed at curbing emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warning yielded no progress and three countries – Canada, Russia and Japan – have abandoned the Kyoto Protocol limiting the emissions. Implications of this pathetic approach for ecosystems have appalling consequences for related economic and social systems as many plants can reproduce and grow within a specific range of temperature and specific amounts of precipitation. Therefore, climate change can affect the ecosystems and the biodiversity within them in many ways. A number of unique species like Himalayan Monal, Indus Blind Dolphin and Green Tutle are exposed to climate change due to multiple factors including fast depletion of glaciers in Gilgit and Skardu, droughts and variations in the regional temperature. Although, biodiversity is facing threat of extinction due to anthropogenic stresses along with the climate change but the apt management of biodiversity can reduce the blow of climate change. The leading countries need to come with a solid practical mechanism to overcome the factors aggravating the climate change to which the global pattern of vegetative structure, productivity and species composition of plants and animals are vulnerable. If we do not do something regarding the climatic change, the coming generations will not forgive us.


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