ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Economy of Climate Change

Key Measures to Tackle the Challenge

The major causes of climate, a comparative appraisal of the two perspectives—global North and South— beyond them and a third perspective is advanced that traces the cause of climate change to the flawed vision of development.

The major causes of climate, a comparative appraisal of the two perspectives—global North and South—beyond them and a third perspective is advanced that traces the cause of climate change to the flawed vision of development.

Climate change is the single-most critical planetary threat that societies face today. This is evident from an all-time high record reached in 2021–22 on all the four standard indicators of climate change: increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, rising sea level, soaring ocean heat, and growing ocean acidification (WMO 2022). Concentrations of GHG reached record levels in 2021, and so did global sea level, rising at an average of 4.5 millimetre (mm) per year. Similarly, top 2 kilometres (km) of oceans continued to warm in 2021 and the ocean waters have acidified, increasingly absorbing some 23% of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. All the four, in turn, have unleashed deleterious consequences: GHG concentrations have led to rising temperatures—so hot as to burn large tracts of Siberian tundra in 2020 and a record-breaking hottest summer accompanied by forest fires and drought in Europe in 2022; rising sea level has endangered economies and people of island nations; warming oceans have disrupted marine ecosystems such as coral reefs; and the ocean acidification has affected organisms and tourism.

These ecological consequences of climate change are troubling enough, but even more frightening are its socio-economic repercussions. According to Rossi-Hansberg (2022), “Climate change will affect the economic geography of the world—it will alter production, GDPs and welfare globally.” It will affect different regions differently. From a sociological viewpoint, it will hit the world’s poorest countries, particularly those in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the hardest. It will render the already worsening situation of inequality—both intra-national and international—truly scary. While the warning signs of climate change are intensifying, the global initiative for climate action is still floundering. No surprise, climate action failure leads the tally of the 10 top global risks, with climate change-related risks accounting for the first three and environmental risks dominating the rest (WEF 2022).

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Updated On : 2nd Jul, 2023
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