Climate Anxiety: Floundering diplomacy and mismanaged COVID-19

September 17, 2021 5:12 PM

The global shutdowns have affected the livelihoods of the young, subsequently increasing debt in a market where automation is making organisations lean and efficient.

This virological disruption coupled with global warming is causing anxiousness amongst the youth of the world. (Representational Image)This virological disruption coupled with global warming is causing anxiousness amongst the youth of the world. (Representational Image)

By Syed Ali

The ongoing COVID crisis has affected the evolution of our species in more ways than can be explained by our limited ability to understand human trauma. The pillars of human development; Economic productivity, Mental health, social exchanges, and mortality rate have all been compromised over the last two years and perhaps may extend to the foreseeable future. This virological disruption coupled with global warming is causing anxiousness amongst the youth of the world.

The heating of the planet is increasing the ocean levels at a tragically fast pace, potentially drowning us and sinking megapolis cities filled with youthful vigor. The scientific community studying the climate crisis has published the estimated time left before major damage to urban infrastructures is inflicted. The policy pundits have designed strategies to implement the under 2C pre-industrial goals and let our planet remain as a center for youth creativity and productivity. Despite this, we are lacking a global coordinated effort to meet the targets to stop the heating of our planet. It is time for us to re-evaluate the relevance of our current governance systems and their ability to deal with global cataclysm. Our existing systems are post-war governance models designed to avert the dominance of national and racial superiority over one and other. Most importantly, the magnitude of mismanagement of the COVID-19 is ipso facto evidence of the ineptitude of our political models to deal with a major crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis and the ever-increasing climatic disasters are causing anxiety in younger generations; apprehensive about their future caused by regular environmental catastrophes with a potential to reverse all progress made over millennia within a lifetime. Compounded by the current crisis that has already severely impacted two otherwise-productive years of a generation which would have otherwise been adventuring around the globe- exercising their innate right to innovate and create in their youthful days.

The global shutdowns have affected the livelihoods of the young, subsequently increasing debt in a market where automation is making organisations lean and efficient. There is an inextricable link between secure livelihoods and young innovation; unfortunately this is being corroded every day due to rampant unemployment increasing economic insecurities in the younger demography. An impoverished, unemployed, and stressed society may not progress in a way as needed to take bigger risks for global poverty reduction.

A recent jibe by a prominent American satirist read ‘There is a pandemic and the bad news is the government is in charge. The government’s handling of the COVID-19 has been inefficient and the ongoing development against global warming is not sufficiently aggressive. An essential indicator to measure a nation’s commitment towards Climate change is enshrined in Article 4 of the Paris agreement, whereby it obliges countries to submit their decarbonisation strategies; a milestone document to phase out carbon emitting sources. Out of 194 Paris agreement signatories only 31 countries have submitted their plan for a carbon neutral economy.

There is massive dissonance in the climate crisis, financing and diplomacy. The Paris agreement in Article 9,10,11 lays down the financing protocol for climate resilient recovery for developing and emerging economies. This proposed financing is done through a Global climate fund (GCF) with an aim to mobilise $100 billion of annual investments by 2020. As of now, total financing received by the GCF is $8.9 billion out of which $5.8 billion are in the implementation phase. On the other hand, Philanthropic funds constitute a major part of climate financing; a recent commitment by billionaire Jeff Bezos estimated $10 billion with $500 million annual commitment. However, all of this collectively dwarfs the estimated $ 86 trillion, 2.5% of the world’s annual GDP required to implement the Paris agreement.

What makes the youth anxious about the future is the woeful inadequacy of the governments to meet the 2C goal. Six years into the Paris agreement and all we have is another International treaty, mired in political smattering, diminishing the hope to safeguard our future. Even if we press hard enough today, it is not going to stop the melting glaciers, burning forests, drying prairies, flash floods, and rivers breaking their banks. Adding to the eco-stress is the inept global political order unwilling to get its act together. Unfortunately, we might breach the 3C above pre-industrial level, increasing sea levels by meters, making harvest failures imminent, destroying coral reefs including the Amazon rainforest- playing a crucial role in balancing the ecosystem of our planet. Needless to say, within a brief period of this natural disaster, the majority of the younger population will be lost to a conflict; causing civil unrest and adding further to climate-anxiety.

We are delaying the response to a major problem through old power chicanery filled with people desperate to save their jobs and not the survival of our planet. We need to divorce climate change from politics and diplomacy. Technology is the tool in our hands, therefore micro-monitoring of carbon emission by households and corporations by taxing individuals and corporations alike is a much-needed measure. We also need to maneuver the progress of our youth-led enterprise and innovation towards sustainability. Taking hard decisions without manipulation can change the course of history and save our younger generation from the scourge of climate change.

(The author is an independent analyst on Policy and Sustainability. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Twitter: @Alinyst)

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