PROFESSOR Hans Joachim Schellnhuber warns that ''there is a very big risk that we will just end our civilization.
The human species will survive somehow but we will destroy almost everything we have built over the last 2,000 years.''

THIS MAY, I had the opportunity to visit a glacier in the Arctic Circle as a part of a World Economic Forum expedition to witness the impact of the climate crisis first-hand.

One moment from the trip stayed with me. I held my breath when a cracking sound erupted like a symphony of gunfire as a gigantic piece of ice, the size of several football fields, crashed off the IIuissat glacier and turned over, forming an iceberg. the ice calving was stunning - and terrifying.

The melting glacier illustrated the rapid rise in world temperatures, which will have a cataclysmic effect in the world.
When I returned, I struggled to relate the threat that the climate crisis posed.

The potential refugee crisis is perhaps one of the most illustrative examples of the catastrophic consequences of climate change.

During Partition of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, between 10 million to 12 million people migrated between India and Pakistan. The resulting violence led to a death toll of between 200,000 and 2 million people; it left an indelible psychological scar on the people of the subcontinent.

By 1990, over 6.3 million Afghan refugees had fled to Pakistan and Iran, and Afghanistan remained the largest source of refugees for three decades.

In the context of the climate, if governments and citizens of the world don't act now to address the crisis, we will have to deal with almost a billion climate refugees by the end of the century.

This crisis would be 100 times worse than the worst refugee crisis the world has ever faced.

These aren't extreme or uncommon opinions. Almost all climate scientists recognise the threat of climate change that has been terribly exacerbated by human activity.

Despite the evidence, when confronted with the information of global warming, most people choose to ignore it. I was among them. It comes from a place of helplessness.

What can one individual, especially based in the developing world, do about a problem so big?

More so when the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions, such as the US and China, are continuing to invest in large carbon-emitting projects? Meanwhile, in Pakistan, we are facing an economic and survival crisis. Don't we have enough to worry about?

The truth is, we simply cannot afford to ignore the situation.

Pakistan and India and the region are among the top countries already experiencing the impact of climate change and extreme weather events, according to the 2019 Global Climate Risk Index released by the public policy group  Germanwatch.

Major heatwaves have already killed thousands of people.

The  problems of food and water scarcity will escalate as the Hindu-Karakoram-Himalayan glaciers, which feeds the major rivers in both Pakistan and India, melt.

This will increase the potential for a Pakistan-India water war which no one can afford. And these are only the early challenges.

The climate crisis could be the end of human civilisation as we know it and we are the last generation that can do anything about it.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research and writing on climate crisis and threat, continues, the World Students Society thanks author Osman Haneef.


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