The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its 5th assessment report on climate change, last Friday. The conclusion of the report remains the same as for the previous reports that climate change is real and is man made. The only thing changed is the confidence level of the scientists working on the report. They are now 95% confident that humans are warming the planet. But how serious do we humans take this threat? Pew, an independent think tank in Washington conducted a big study earlier this year on the attitude towards climate change as a global threat. The results were quite concerning and paradoxical. The world leaders,U.S and China, the leading green house gas emissions nations stand as among the least concerned about climate change while Pakistan stands on the last position for consideration, if any, towards climate change.At least half the public in 24 of the 39 countries say climate change is a major threat to their nation. People in Greece (87%), South Korea (85%), Brazil (76%), Lebanon (74%) and Japan (72%) express the highest levels of concern. 4 in 10 Americans (40%) and 39% Chinese say it is a major threat.
Americans lukewarm response to the phenomenon of global change is not something new. The state media blind folds the public into believing that this is a hoax and political divide n this issue with Democrats (55%) and Republicans only (22%) viewing climate change as a threat, puts any climate change action into inaction.
While the GHG guzzling giants remain complacent, Pakistan continues to take the brunt of being amongst the 10 most disaster prone countries. With severe floodings successively in the past three years, Pakistan remains extremely vulnerable due to its agrarian economy. Food insecurity, job losses, increasing economic and social imbalances have all exacerbated due to the problem of climate change. If the imbalances are not resolved, chances are we might head towards civilian war and violence. The Centre for Climate and Security,a think tank on climate and security issues, in an excellent piece “Syria: Climate change, Drought and Social Unrest” underlines the factors causing the civilian war in Syria that have remain underreported. As per the report, “many social, economic, environmental and climatic changes in Syria eroded the social contract between citizen and government in the country, thus strengthening the case for opposition movement.” This report is an eye opener for all the politicians and policy makers to consider the threat of climate change as real as it has all the economic and psychological factors to incite the public to violence.
In short, the IPCC report with its sweeping implications of rising temperatures and sea levels and melting glaciers is a cause of concern for all, all who care for humanity, for the planet earth and are open to a good debate and common sense on the subject.