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Climate and inequality

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Reports on climate change show that Pakistan is ranked at the 135th position in terms of its carbon emissions. However, in terms of the risk that the country faces due to climate change, it is ranked at the seventh position, according to the Global Climate Risk Index report of 2016. How can we explain this discrepancy?

This article identifies the reductionism of modernity into a utilitarianism-based, capitalism-driven economy – which benefits a small elite at the expense of a vast majority of the world population and resources – as the root cause and the lens through which global environmental change can be understood. The same explanation can be applied to Pakistan’s position in the world as well as intra-country inequalities.

To argue how and why climate change is happening, we must first understand when and how it started. Long before humans existed, five mass extinctions had occurred due to climate change. However, the sixth mass extinction is occurring during the existence of humans and it is humans who are directly to blame for this. It all started with humans gaining control over natural resources. Scholars refer to this as the Anthropocene period. The very first instance of humans taking control over nature was when we learned how to control fire.

However, it was after attempts were made to control fossil fuels in the........

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