Climate change carries catastrophic consequences for planet earth and survival of human being on the globe. It is a real threat and some of its startling impacts have already been witnessed. The daunting issue is caused by the polluting activities of human being, which cannot longer be reversed completely.
The major consequences of climate change may range from rise in global temperature, fast melting of glaciers, rise in sea levels, water crisis, decrease in crop yields, devastating coastal and inland floodings, extreme weather events like drought and heat waves, health issues to armed conflicts between nations and communities.
Rise in global Temperature (Global Warming):
One of the most immediate impacts of climate change is the rise of global temperature also called global warming. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average global temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the past 100 years. Burning the fossil fuels causes global warming, as it releases Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other green house gases directly into the atmosphere. Thus, global warming is the main consequence of climate change.
Fast melting of glaciers:
Another major catastrophic consequence of climate change is the fast melting of glaciers. The global warming dimension of climate change causes it. In August 2109, the residents of Iceland held funeral for the very first glacier they lost to the global warming. According to an estimation, all the glaciers of Iceland will disappear in the next 200 years. Pakistani glaciers in Chitral district are also melting at a very alarming rate. It was the reason that the administration arranged the tour of Prince William and his wife to Chitral in October 2019 to show them the melting glaciers caused by the activities of the developed countries.
Rise in sea levels:
Rise in sea levels is also caused by climate change. In general, when the glaciers melt, the sea level increases. Very recently, the government of Indonesia has decided to shift its capital from Jakarta to Borneo Island because the sea level of Jakarta is increasing at an alarming rate of around 6-7 inches per year. It will cost Indonesia a whopping $33 billion to shift the capital. In Pakistan as well, according to expert, 3.5 million agriculture lands in Thatta and Sujawal have been lost to the sea affecting the livelihood of many families.
Climate change contributes to the water crisis as well. Many countries rely on the rivers for their water requirement and these rivers often receive water from the melting the glaciers. Once these glaciers are melted owing to climate change, the countries would witness serious water crisis. Take an example of Pakistan to understand this fact clearly. Pakistan receives an average of 240mm rainfall annually. According to this calculation, it comes in the category of semi-desert region. The existing agriculture of Pakistan is because of the Indus River. Its reliance on a single river system makes its water security highly risky. Indus river of Pakistan receives its major share of water from melting of glaciers. These glaciers are melting at a very fast pace owing to the climate change. Once these glaciers are melted, the river will be dried up converting Pakistan into a semi desert. Afterward, the country would not be able to sustain around 207 million population. Under this scenario, people will start kill one another like a wild beast for survival.
Decrease in crop yields:
Climate change poses a serious threat to crop yields. Changing weather patterns like irregular rainfalls, heat waves, droughts and so on, which are the outcome of climate change, directly affect the yield of both food and cash crops in any agricultural country. For instance, Pakistan witnessed less than an expected cotton yields last year. It was because the unusual heavy rains caused a lot of damage to the cotton plants just as they were fruiting. Same events against the food crop can results in a widespread hunger. Hence, climate change negatively affect the agriculture yield.
Devastating coastal and inland floods:
The next major repercussion of climate change is the devastating coastal and inland floods. Coastal floods results from the rise in sea levels. Consequently, the sea inundates the coastal areas. On the other hand, heavy rainfalls and the fast melting of the glaciers cause the inland floods by increasing the quantity of water in the rivers beyond its capacity. As a result, the water is spread out all over the surrounding regions causing the inland floods. The devastating flood of 2010 in Pakistan is also seen from the prism of climate change.
Extreme weather events:
Climate change provides fresh impetus to the extreme weather events like droughts and heat waves. These events are commonly seen in Pakistan. Drought can be described as, less than an average rainfall in a particularly area. The region of Thar, has been, particularly, a victim of drought for the many years. The heat waves have also become an order of the day. For instance, in 2015 alone, around 2000 people died from heat stroke and dehydration in Pakistan.
According to WHO, between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress. Most of the children in Thar face malnutrition because of drought. Every year, about 1500 children die in Thar due of inadequate nutrition in their diet and improper treatment. Besides, Floods will contaminate freshwater supplies, heighten the risk of water-borne diseases, and create breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes. As a result, the diseases like malaria and diarrhea will spread adversary affecting the health security of Pakistan.
Armed conflicts between nations and communities:
Climate change will contribute to the armed conflict between nations and communities. To understand this fact, take the example of our country. Pakistan is an agrarian country and its economy is almost dependent on this sector. Agriculture contributes 18.5 per cent to country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs 38.5 per cent people to national labour force and is total 70 per cent of the export. It relies on a single river system___ Indus___ to cultivate crops. Without Indus river system, Pakistan will turn into semi desert.
However, the Indus River receives its water from the melting of glaciers and enters Pakistan from India. It further reaches Sindh province by crossing Punjab. As already mentioned above, the glaciers are melting very fast owing to climate change. It is, therefore, the time will come when the river will not receive adequate water to fulfill the agricultural requirement of the country. As a result, the provinces located upstream like Punjab will block the water for its own use. Consequently, people of downstream (Sindh) will starve and take guns to fight with them.
Under these circumstances, if India tried to stop water, Pakistan, as a whole nation will declare war on New Delhi. It is a reason that experts have already warned that the future war will be fought on the water.
Thus, global warming, fast melting of the glaciers, rise in sea levels, water crisis, decrease in crop yields, devastating coastal and inland floods, extreme weather events, health issues and armed conflicts between nations and communities are the major consequences of climate change and these must be addressed by taking collective measures at a global level.