A miserable planet whose inhabitants do not care about its wellbeing: the world has seen several uncertain happenings in the last eight months of this year. Some of them include the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s aggressive actions to challenge US hegemony and alter the global order. The effects of these Russian and Chinese acts can be felt worldwide, especially in the third-world countries of South Asia. They are adding to their difficulties, which are already vulnerable.
Scientists have recently issued dire warnings about the consequences of global warming on humanity. They argue that 1.5–2 degrees Celsius of global warming causes great alarm to the IPCG and other scientific organizations. For the simple reason that a severe rise in temperature will have devastating effects on human civilizations and could even endanger our species. Therefore, action is required to reduce the discharge of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, world powers are overlooking this. Would they be willing to hear scientists’ warnings that worst-case possibilities be addressed so that the world starts treating climate change as the most significant problem of our times? There are no such signs, but the truth remains that major powers like the United States, Russia, and China strive for global dominance. Global dominance at the cost of climate catastrophe
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has devastated world food and energy supplies, especially in developing nations like South Asia. Did Russian President Vladimir Putin consider these before he invaded Ukraine? What was his opinion of them? As bargaining chips to sway Ukraine and the big powers to accept Russian influence? Ukraine generates over 40% of the world’s sunflower oil and is responsible for up to 16% of global corn exports. Ukraine’s agriculture ministry estimates that the country has lost 22 million tons of grain due to the Russian invasion. With a total of 10.5 million BPD, Russian crude and condensate production accounted for 14% of the global supply. Russia is not likely to stop playing its propaganda cards and end the issue for a while, but the good news is that they have finally come to a deal, and wheat exports can get underway.
Whether it is the South China Sea or the LAC (line of actual control), China’s territorial conflicts are more pressing than reducing the greenhouse gas emissions to which it contributes 30% of the world’s total. There are clear signs that it is rising to power and the old powers are waning. It displayed aggression after Nancy Pelosi (speaker of the house of representatives) visited Taiwan and how it flexed its muscles in the Indo-Pacific arena, imposing debt traps on developing countries like we have seen recently in Sri Lanka they won’t be able to pay the debt, as a result, they have to give the port of Hambantota on lease to china for 99 years. It doesn’t seem it care about the climate-related challenges. China as it appears to won’t bother if this threatens global stability.
The Paris Climate Accord of 2016 was the first apparent attempt to tackle this challenge. Its goal was to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Its other objective is to help countries better cope with climate change. However, the United States broke the truce first. It is a significant setback for international efforts to reduce global warming and adapt to its repercussions that Trump has decided to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
The world is not paying much attention to it, but it is demonstrating what it can do if it is allowed to fester. The wildfires of Mexico, the scorching heat wave in Europe killed almost 1600 people, and the flood situation in the South Asian region, especially in Pakistan, killed 1325 people. Approximately 1.6 million houses were turned into ashes. It is not atypical in underprivileged areas, like Assam in India, that suffer the most consequences of climate change.
A global epidemic in 2019 claimed the lives of about 6.5 million people. The world’s great powers have started pointing fingers at each other instead of looking into the problem’s origins. The United States condemns the World Health Organization’s (WHO) perceived bias toward China. China started a trade war with Australia after that, and others raised concerns about the transparency of the investigation. Consequently, the matter has become politicized, and there is no coordinated plan to deal with such crises in the future.
So if we continue on our current path, humanity will be extinguished from Earth at some point in the far future. There is still time to reverse the ecological harm that has already been done, even if human error significantly impacts the climate and ecosystem. The Paris Acord should be revived, and those countries that violate it should be tackled with an iron hand. Without long-term preparations, this situation is a ticking time bomb, and there will be no future in which anyone can reign.
Salman Sabir is a student of International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad. His area of interest revolves around the domestic political conditions and regional stability of the South Asian region. He can be reached at email@example.com