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Climate change is a human rights cause

Climate change is a human rights cause

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  • Sun Online Desk
  • 2nd August, 2021 07:16:23 PM
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Pakistan contributes less than 1 per cent in global carbon emission, but stands amongst the vulnerable countries of the world that will be affected by climate change in the coming decades. The situation becomes more complex given the state’s fragile trajectory towards economic development and its adherence to fossil fuels.

For a country like Pakistan, climate change has become a unique human rights issue and must be dealt with placing the latter at the center of every state policy. Activists urge the government to work on a decarbonized economy, giving the protection of its people the prime importance.

Climate experts suggest that climate change is no less than a “pandemic” and if it remains uncontrolled, the severity can kill people since there is no vaccine for its treatment. The only thing that seems doable is to limit the carbon emissions and swiftly make a transition to renewable energy. They believe that if we keep on adding dangerous gases into our atmosphere, we will drive the ecosystem to blow out and kill all the species, destroying the planet and indirectly violating human rights.

Apropos of the policies that the government should make, analysts maintain the aspect of human rights should be embedded as a guiding principle. A country already battling with food and energy insecurity and is struggling to provide shelters to disabled and displaced people, climate change will surely play havoc with its current efforts, they reiterate.

Experts warn that with a sharp increase in glacier melting and irregular rain patterns, the water in the rivers will likely overflow, giving potential harm to crops and inhabitants living around embankments. As a result, most of them will undergo displacement while others will perish. The crop yields will be destroyed, leaving less for a large number of people. This situation can trigger a disastrous civil war, according to some analysts.

Seeing the global efforts of people against climate change, Pakistani activists are organising protests while taking this issue as an urgent human rights cause. “The warnings are clear. We have to act now or we might not even live to regret it. I am marching because failing to act now is all but guaranteeing mutually-assured destruction for us and the planet,” said Adnan Malik, leading Pakistani actor and film director on a climate change protest.

Similarly, a seven-year-old girl, Rabab Ali, sued the government for putting her rights and the rights of her generation into danger by not working against climate change. “I want the government to give me and my friends a safe environment to grow up in. I want it to help me conserve it for future generations,” she said.

Environmental analysts opine that climate change will not affect everyone equally as those segments of the society such as women and children who are already experiencing inequalities and discrimination are prone to suffer more. The lack of access to education, health, and job opportunities will exacerbate the situation further, thrusting more people into poverty.

Experts reiterate that Pakistan’s climate mitigation strategies must take on a participatory approach. The concerned parties must make efforts to ensure women and other marginalized segments of the society are included in the decisions making about the problems that affect them and provide them with unrestricted support to enable them to defend themselves in face of any calamity.

In a report published by the World Health Organisation, it was revealed that there were 166,000 avoidable deaths in the year 2000 that could be diametrically linked with climate change. The north of the country is more susceptible to climate change as there are relatively more deaths there. Almost 36 people gave their lives during flash floods in Chitral in 2015. The aftereffects of these natural incidents also cause damage to the agriculture, farms and infrastructure in such regions.

To control the menace of climate change, it has been observed that the government is making plans to disallow the use of coal plants for energy consumption and replacing them with solar and wind for better protection of the environment. Observers say this should be appreciated by achieving a balance and providing the disadvantaged communities access to cheap power supplies who are bearing the brunt of inaccessible and unaffordable sources of power utility.

“Our rights to life, food, housing, water and a healthy environment are all threatened by climate change, which also compounds and magnifies existing inequalities. Its increasingly frightening effects have become everyday life for the world’s poorest countries as wealthier countries continue to pass the buck”,” said Rimmel Mohydin, a campaigner at Amnesty International.

As climate change slowly engulfs us into its life-threatening effects, everyday is a compromised day in the life experience of human beings. The dark clouds are on the horizon and to prepare itself against them, experts maintain that Pakistan should keep climate change as the most important agenda on its foreign and national policy and align all the efforts in its direction.

Activists urge that “sustainability to save humanity” should be the new motto of every public and private institution. They say that it has now become a humanitarian cause and the government of a state cannot mitigate its effects alone. When human life becomes endangered by the humans themselves, then its reversibility is only possible through combined human efforts, they reiterate.

Source: Pakistan Today