Impacts on environmental economics

Efficient use and conservation of environmental resources have always been critical for long-term sustainable economic development and for the survival of mankind. However, in Pakistan the situation has entirely reverse as rapid degradation of these resources has emerged as a major concern for the stakeholders as this negative factor is not only destroying ecosystem but also leading to fast decline in foreign exchange. The rampant deforestation, encouraged by lack of relevant laws, is eating up forests which, by no means, are the natural assets of a state. Water scarcity, water pollution, air pollution, waste management, deforestation, inefficient use of energy, loss of biodiversity and climate change can be linked with the evaporation of natural resources. Moreover, the change in atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) has affected the global climate. The aggressive emission of Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) across the world has increased sharply in recent years due to human activities, directly threatening to the natural resources. Though Pakistan has very nominal percentage in the GHG emissions, yet it is highly vulnerable to this threat. Globally, the consumption of fossil fuels in the year 1950 was two billion tons of oil equivalents which has increased to eight billion tons in the year 2000. Currently 56 percent of the GHGs emissions are a result of fossil fuels use and 17.3 percent are due to the deforestation and decay of biomass. The global consequences of climate change include decline in agricultural productivity, increase in water shortages, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, adverse impact on ecosystem, and on health. These factors, no doubt, are a stumbling block in ensuring sustainability of economic development and maintaining quality of life in Pakistan. The growth models in the past including labor and capital were as a factor of production but in the 19th century it was recognized that natural capital also matters much and, therefore, the biosphere was included in the circular flow of income. Environmental economists take into account the depreciation of natural capital. There is a desperate need to conduct and supervise research on key issues of environmental degradation and climate change and disseminate the results of the research among researchers and policy makers. There must be a greater role on the part of decision makers who are supposed to be more involved in the whole process. Establishment of an academic programme in environmental economics as well as a data bank on environmental indicators can be the major tools to get the desired results.

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