Climatic Catastrophe in Pakistan: Wealthy Nation Owe Reparations
Loss and damage served as the developing nations' pivot for coping with climate change. Rich countries owe compensation to nations experiencing a climate catastrophe.
Since June 2022, Pakistan's landscape has been altered by torrential rain, which has submerged villages and fields, destroyed homes, and killed more than 1,000 people. Numerous public health facilities, water systems, and educational institutions have also been damaged, along with hundreds of thousands of residences. In addition, extreme monsoon rains have devastated Pakistan, causing the worst flooding the nation has experienced in a decade.
Pakistan is already experiencing a political crisis, in addition to the worse floods that occurred in the past few weeks. Even if the floodwaters have subsided, experts caution that the risk to those living in the affected area, which comprises around one-third of Pakistan, is just beginning because the nation is currently facing an impending food crisis.
Notably, Pakistan may struggle to feed itself for the next couple of years due to severe damage to its crops and animals. Before this monsoon season, Pakistan's food insecurity and poverty were already high. However, Pakistan has declared a national emergency as massive floods continue to destroy the country.
The melting of Pakistan's 7,000 glaciers has intensified the impact of the monsoon rains. The nation is home to most glacial ice outside of the polar caps. Recent heat waves and climate change have caused multiple glacial-outburst floods. In the mountainous north of the country, meltwater and rain have combined to make hillsides into streams.
Young children live in the open with their families, without access to food, water, or a means of support. As a result, they are exposed to various new flood-related dangers and hazards, such as drowning in floodwaters and damage to buildings. In the meantime, diarrhea, water-borne infections, and pulmonary and skin disease have been documented.
Floodwaters still cut off many areas, making relief and rescue activities extremely difficult. This summer's deadly floods that engulfed Pakistan were probably made worse by climate change. Across the nation, there has been an increase in extreme rainfall, and warming is likely to blame. The severity of these catastrophic rainfall events could increase due to global warming.
Though, a number of other elements, such as socioeconomic conditions, early warning systems, and disaster management strategies, significantly impact how people are affected by extreme weather. Significantly, under the influence of climate change, extreme weather events are getting harsher everywhere. They now pose significant risks to people. During his visit to Pakistan, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that Pakistan "needs substantial financial support for relief, recovery, and rehabilitation in the wake of the terrible floods. We have declared war on nature, and now nature is responding dangerously. Tomorrow in any other country, today in Pakistan.
Importantly, Pakistan and other developing countries are trapped in a toxic interplay of catastrophic climate change for which they bear no responsibility, rising hunger, inequity, and a rigged economic structure. Developed countries should achieve zero net emissions by 2030 rather than pursuing geoengineering projects like carbon capture and storage.
Developing nations have long appealed to wealthy countries for financial assistance in covering the expenses of heat waves, floods, droughts, sea level rise, and other climatic disasters. They assert that countries like the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan, which grew wealthy through the use of fossil fuels, also heated the earth and caused loss and damage. As a result, the disparity between wealthy, carbon-emitting nations and the weak, developing globe is growing.
In international climate negotiations, this issue has gotten attention. Countries committed to acknowledge and deal with the loss and harm of those risky climate effects in the historic 2015 Paris climate agreement. At the significant U.N. climate conference held in Glasgow, Scotland, last year, representatives from developing nations hoped they could finally establish a permanent organization to channel funding to the nations most impacted by climate disasters.
However, despite being the country with the highest carbon dioxide emissions, the United States has consistently obstructed these initiatives. For example, the Biden administration joined many other nations in Glasgow in opposing proposals to set up payments to developing nations that have been severely impacted by climate change. The next major U.N. climate conference, known as COP27, which is slated to take place in Egypt, will push the United States and other industrialized nations to address this issue.
The magnitude of the Catastrophe in Pakistan has brought to light the growing climatic inequality between the rich, carbon-emitting globe and the impoverished nations, which produce less carbon but suffer the effects of those who do. As a result, Pakistan is the eighth most vulnerable to climate change despite producing less than 1% of the world's carbon emissions and having the fifth-highest population.
Loss and damage served as the developing nations' pivot for coping with climate change. Rich countries owe compensation to nations experiencing a climate catastrophe. The agreement reached between the global north and the global south is failing since there has been such a great deal of loss and harm with minimal compensation given to nations that have made such little carbon footprint contributions. Since climate change is occurring considerably more quickly than expected, governments must exert great pressure to reset the targets.