Environmental Response on a Global Scale
It is hard to dismiss the issue of climate change and the burden humans are putting on the environment. Even though there are still politicians around the world that refuse to believe such an act is occurring, it is reassuring to note that 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is occurring and has to do with human’s impact on Earth. The issue is of how to solve this problem on a global scale, yet there hasn’t been any truly significant consensus on the issue. When global leaders get together to combat the issue, often the United States and China leave themselves out of binding regulations on emissions, and when they are involved in legislative environmental change, they are sure that the legislation has not actual power to truly enforce the law.
I believe that if the world is able to recognize the economic benefit from improving the Earth’s environment, then the world is more likely to change. Currently, many countries are worried that creating action on climate change may impact their GDP and lessen the economic activity. They are worried some will lose jobs, that some will have to consume less, if they are to create a more environmentally friendly world. However, this seems to not be the case. According to a UN study, a “$6 billion USD investment in disaster risk reduction over the next 15 years would avoid losses of $360 billion USD.” Countries need to begin thinking longterm instead of looking shortsighted, and it does look like some countries are starting to take notice. China, a country long known for ridiculous pollution emissions, has created a plan outlining how to mitigate its pollution. The plan acknowledges climate change as a real issue, and outlines how to create low-carbon emitting industry and how to get the entire Chinese society to participate in this initiative.
The United States however looks to be taking a different turn for the worst. The new head of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is Scott Pruitt, who was chosen by new President Donald Trump. Pruitt’s leaderships of the EPA is very controversial, mostly in part because as Attorney General of Oklahoma, he had sued the EPA 13 times attacking clean water provisions. Many in the science community are worried about Pruitt’s confirmation, and believe that the EPA is heading in a bad direction of lessening regulations of the environment, something that cannot be tolerated at this point.
In regards to the environment in Pakistan, the outlook isn’t that great so far for the country. In recent times, the country has seen explosive population growth, in which its biggest city Karachi has doubled in population to around 20 million people. The extreme increase in population has seen emissions grow exponentially, ultimately contributing to Pakistan’s climate change problem. It has gotten to the extent that Pakistan is now ranked eighth among countries hit by climate change. Statistics show that climate change in Pakistan could reduce wheat production by 14 percent and rice by 15.2 percent. Simple math concludes that this will not work with Pakistan’s exponential growth, in which
farmers will need to find new ways to yield high amounts of crops. Water is another major issue in the country, in which Pakistan has only one month of water supply on hand, whereas the recommended amount is 1,000 days of water. Nearby countries such as India and Bangladesh have an organization called Water.org which helps people with clean safe water, however is not involved within Pakistan.
Such climate change is also causing an increase of migration out of the country for reasons because of climate change. Pakistan has begun to see increases in the heat, to the extent of 3 degrees Celsius within 50 years, which has negative effects for an already burdensome agriculture industry. Since farmers are making so little money off of agriculture, and since the increase in heat has been lessening their yield, many men have begun to migrate to new areas out of the country. Deforestation is another major issue in Pakistan, in which those that relied on the timber industry to make a living have started to lose out on income. The country now only retains about 2 to 5 percent of its tree cover, which has also lead to increases in flooding, because the tree coverings helped to stop water from flooding areas.
In response to the drastic changes in climate change, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif created the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency to try to help solve some of these problems. The Agency has helped in outlining national environment quality standards, policies & strategies, impact assessment procedures, and financial assistance to NGO’s. As for how much of an impact the Agency has had, it is difficult to determine as there is not much information about its success so far. It is although a major step in helping Pakistan manage its climate change crisis and provide advice to the Prime Minister on ways to combat the issue.