The word “Climate Change” has become a buzzword, a widely discussed topic of the day in public discourse to stop the negative impact globally.
Still, people of both developed and developing countries are having a hard time truly understanding and addressing climate change due to a few strategic communication blunders.
Our Strategic Mistakes
Most of our discussions are focused on climate change impact 2100.
An increase in the temperature of 2 degrees Celsius is considered mitigating carbon emissions while we are witnessing a rapid increase in extreme weather patterns globally that is posing an existential threat detrimental threat, and harming the way people live.
Similarly, most of our discussions are on an average temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius while our focus should be on ever-increasing risks that are at an extreme level.
Such as extreme heatwave events, that are causing biodiversity loss, damage to the ecosystem, water scarcity, and other increasing vulnerabilities especially in developing countries.
For example, the record-breaking heatwave in Pakistan about 50C is causing water scarcity and a threat to human health on a massive scale.
Most of the recommendations of environmental economists focus on cap and trade system on a global scale rather attention and importance should be given to a sequence of national carbon tax and rebate systems (CIA rebate).
Kyoto protocol (1998) requires international cooperation and political national institutions where tax/rebates locally do not face such issues, but the fact is that the perfect has become the enemy of the good.
Much of scholars have rejected the climate model put forward by William Nordhaus, a Nobel Peace Laureate, and described it as a “flawed” model because the logic simply leaves the action to the future generation.
The model says that action limits growth that will provide us resources in the future and stop damage caused by climate change in the future time which has created doubts and objections from various scholars.
Actions are needed now to solve immediate problems rather than leaving them for the future. For example, actions in the form of taxes can affect emissions and climate change.
Most people do not understand the stationary and nonstationary changes occurring that are harming their infrastructure, health, and food and that the choices people make are for the most part showing that people misunderstand probabilities.
For example, people who are hesitant about taking COVID vaccines until they are offered incentives, for example, people especially in developing countries are allowed going abroad for employment opportunities after vaccination. This indicates that people miscalculate such possibilities.
Similarly, many people do not understand the consequences related to missing +2C targets due to the Lag Effect or climate lagging.
In other words, hitting that level will take 50 to 100 years for the current climate change impacts assuming zero emissions in the present time and 10,000 more years onward for the current 409ppm (parts per million) concentration of carbon a level never seen in many years to come back to the pre-industrial stage of 280ppm.
Such levels are never witnessed in 170 years. Studies suggest that we have already passed the point of no return.
Studies also suggest that the current level of CO2 emissions is 456-ppm CO2 equivalent and that the world is in a far worse situation than the most widely discussed numbers.
Other major problems exist in societies such as politics of greed, lobbying, profit-seeking enterprises market failure, and because our current behavior towards climate change is making it difficult to live for other humans and animals in the biosphere and so on needs to be addressed at the forefront.
It is clear from the above facts that human beings have made it difficult to tackle the issue of climate change due to a series of strategic mistakes.
Prioritizing Local Warming
David Zetland, author of the Aguanomics blog post wrote on the importance of solving immediate local issues.
People can contribute to their local economies by protecting the local ecosystem and helping support communities on their own that in turn provides many benefits to local communities.
We don’t need to wait for a major power to fix a global problem; we can make difference ourselves, locally”.
Local institutions play an important role in mitigating the adverse impact of climate change as well as promoting ecosystem services on a local scale.
For example, regional agreements on the multilateral scale for the management of natural resources fulfill the local interests of a region.
The Way Forward:
Whether developed or developing countries tackling climate change and reducing, its negative effects on societies and the environment requires collective action and the ability of the people to reduce the pain of climate change.
These collective actions can be taken by the people in the whole world on a local scale that will in turn contribute on a global level.
As said in the famous phrase ”Think globally and act locally” Contributing towards solving the local environment helps people to focus on issues and challenges happening locally around the world
The world should not wait for any miracle to happen that will save the world from the destruction of climate change. People can contribute to solving their local environmental issues such little steps will ensure a safe future for the entire planet.
*The writer is a young research scholar at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
*The views expressed by the writer are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the institutions.