India, Pakistan. Nuclear Neighbors in Climate Crosshairs.
March 8, 2016
Hindu and Muslim. Historical animosity. History of wars. Plagued by terrorism and extremism. Pressures on climate, food, and water.
What could possibly go wrong? (Lonnie Thompson gives a clue towards the end of the dramatic video above)
India will be among the worst hit countries and face a large number of deaths due to reduced crop productivity, according to a new study on climate change by the University of Oxford.
A modelling study estimates climate change could kill more than 500,000 adults worldwide in 2050. The study from the university’s Martin Future of Food programme was published on Thursday in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’.
The countries that would be worst affected by this crisis are low- income and middle-income countries, mainly those in the Western Pacific region (264,000 additional deaths), Southeast Asia (164,000), China (248,000) and India (136,000).
The research is considered the strongest evidence so far, that climate change could have horrendous consequences for food production and overall health worldwide, a university statement said.
The study led by Marco Springmann is the first of its kind to assess the impact of climate change on diet composition and body weight. It estimates the number of deaths that these two factors will cause in 2050 in 155 countries.
The study also states that unless action is taken to reduce global emissions, climate change could cut the projected improvement in food availability by about a third by 2050, and lead to average per-person reductions in food availability of 3.2% (99 kcal per day), in fruit and vegetable intake of 4.0% (14.9 g per day), and red meat consumption of 0.7% (0.5g per day).
“We found that in 2050, these changes could be responsible for around 529,000 extra deaths. We looked at the health effects of changes in agricultural production that are likely to result from climate change and found that even modest reductions in the availability of food per person could lead to changes in the energy content and composition of diets, and these changes will have major consequences for health,” Springmann said.
For decades, Pakistan has struggled to manage urgent crises, ranging from infrastructure woes to terrorism. While its policies focus on short-term conventional threats, a potentially devastating danger lurks in the shadows: climate change. As the impact of global warming continues to grow, the political and economic instability it brings will threaten Pakistan’s security. The Pakistani government must prioritize its response to climate change in order to mitigate environmental threats and prevent future calamities.
Much like the government, the Pakistani public finds it difficult to prioritize climate change when the average citizen is deprived of life’s most basic necessities. For the population, immediate and clear hazards to their livelihood trump long-term, still largely invisible threats. In 2007-2008, a Gallup poll found that only 34 percent of Pakistanis were aware of climate change, and only 24 percent considered it a serious threat.
However, this perception is changing as global warming starts to impact everyday life. Over the past several years, Pakistanis have witnessed, firsthand, the devastating effects of climate change. Catastrophic floods displaced millions, and severe droughts in Thar and Balochistan portend the damage global warming can cause. The frequency of those floods has increased over the last five years, due to melting glaciers and heavy rainfall. Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous metropolitan city, suffered a heat wave so severe it claimed the lives of almost 1,200 people. These recent disasters could account for the change in public opinion from the 2007-2008 Gallup poll to the situation in 2015, when Pakistan joined the list of 19 countries where the majority of the population now considers climate change a top global threat.