Pakistan must learn from developed world’s climate mistakes

Published: April 19, 2019
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Prof Dr Pritam Singh says the world has just over a decade to take decisive action. PHOTO: FILE

Prof Dr Pritam Singh says the world has just over a decade to take decisive action. PHOTO: FILE

The traditional capitalist development model of the western world has pushed the world into environmental chaos creating global climate change issues such as global warming and loss of biodiversity loss. Hence, there is a need for a paradigm shift, especially in the advanced capitalist economies to switch to the alternative ‘eco-socialist’ development model.

This was stated by Professor Dr Pritam Singh from the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies while delivering a special lecture on ‘Sustainability implications of the spatial shift in global capitalism: An eco-socialist perspective’.

The lecture had been organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Thursday.

Dr Singh said there is evidence of a significant spatial shift taking place in global capitalism, especially from the relatively-less populated countries but with advanced capitalist economies of the developed world.

Even the massively populated countries of the developing world with emerging capitalist economies are looking to shift to more eco-friendly measures.

From 1980 to 2017, he said that there was a downward trend from developed economies in their share of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, whereas, there was an upward trend in the global share of GDP from developing emerging economies, such as Brazil, India and China.

He warned that further expansion and deepening of capitalism could bring unprecedented environmental and social destruction.

The proposed eco-socialism development perspective, which visualises a true eco-friendly economy and society, can be built only by replacing capitalism with a classless society, he remarked.

Dr Singh warned about the dire consequences and irreversible changes caused by climate change, especially if the global temperatures rose beyond the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.

He painted a stark situation by stating that the world only had less than 11 years to take serious action to avert that tragedy or at least mitigate it to some degree.

“It is the collective responsibility of individual consumers, institutional practices, collective organisational initiatives, government targets and policies, and global agreements such as the Paris Agreement, to help mitigate the dire consequences of climate change,” he said.

In Pakistan’s context, he said that it should not blindly follow the model of the developed world.

He added that developing economies need to learn from the mistakes of the developed countries and should strive to build a self-sufficient economy.

To achieve sustainable development, he suggested that every individual take the responsibility of adopting environment-friendly and sustainable consumption behaviour.

SDPI Director Policy Dr Shafqat Munir, while moderating the session, said that the economic policies and development model of the developing economies, such as of Pakistan should be environmentally friendly.

“Without protecting the environment, we cannot achieve sustainable development,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2019.

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