US, EU rubbish fouling poor nations' backyards
Despite producing less than 1% of global emissions, Pakistan is one of the top ten nations most at risk from climate change, yet wealthy nations are still dragging their feet in paying for damage caused by their own emissions.
For what Islamabad refers to as the "Resilient Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction Framework (4RF)," over 40 nations, donor organizations, and international financial institutions pledged more than $10 billion early this month to find a solution for Pakistan's long-term climate resilience and climate change adaptation.
The United Nations and Pakistan convened a one-day donors' meeting in Geneva on January 9 to generate funds for Pakistan's flood relief operations, giving a boost to the fundraising campaign for the reconstruction of flood-affected areas. Since floods struck areas of Pakistan in June of last year, both Pakistan and UN Secretary-General António Guterres have urged developed nations to contribute to the recovery effort. Mid-September found the UN head in Pakistan to give his support and solidarity to the local populace.
Last year, melting glaciers and record monsoon rainfall triggered unprecedented flooding in the northwestern and southern parts of Pakistan. These floods claimed the lives of almost 1,700 people and pushed approximately nine million individuals into the poverty line. Tens of thousands of houses, roads, and bridges were destroyed by landslides and flash floods. In numerous areas, residents were shut off from any assistance. According to the Pakistani government, which declared a state of emergency, the floods have affected almost 33 million people, with millions forced to abandon their houses and either live on the highways or in emergency shelters. They do not have clean water, food, or shelter, and floodwater still covers their crops, damaging or destroying them.
In December last year, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that more than 240,000 people in the southern province of Sindh remain homeless, while satellite imagery indicates that approximately eight million people are still potentially exposed to floodwaters or living near flooded areas. In at least 12 districts of Sindh and Balochistan, the floodwaters are still standing.
in light of the widespread devastation caused by the floods, Pakistan and the UN have resolved to seek compensation from developed nations through “adaptation projects," as wealthy nations have pledged to allocate $100 billion yearly from both government and private sources by the year 2020. The money was expected to launch "mitigation" and "adaptation" programs to assist countries to reduce emissions and prepare for worsening storms, floods, and other extremes.
Even though the Geneva meeting went better than Islamabad had anticipated, the United States and the G7 chose loans over grants to cover the cost of the losses. During a post-conference media briefing in Islamabad, Pakistan's Finance Minister Ishaq Dar disclosed that around 90 percent of the international community's promises at the Geneva conference were project loans that would be disbursed over the next three years. The Islamic Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and World Bank made almost 90% of the conference's project finance pledges.
The "biblical" floods that struck a third of Pakistan in June last year caused more than $16.3 billion in damages, according to a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report prepared last year by Pakistan with the help of the UN and other global bodies.
The report estimated that the country needed $16.3bn to rebuild its economy and infrastructure and called for global help for rehabilitation. Pakistan anticipated that the developed world would foot at least half of the recovery bill as part of their contribution to the destruction brought on by climate change from their industrial emissions.
The UN granted Pakistan's plea and ordered industrialized nations to pay for the environmental catastrophe that their emissions are responsible for causing. Despite producing less than 1% of global emissions, Pakistan is one of the top ten nations most at risk from climate change, according to the Global Climate Risk Index.
Loss and damage fund
The developing nations have long demanded that the wealthier nations contribute to a loss and damage fund to compensate the poorer nations. In November 2022, the COP27 summit held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt gave formal approval to the fund.
During the 2015 Paris climate conference, participants asked industrialized nations to establish a fund that could be used to pay victims of floods, droughts, heat waves, and the extinction of animals, species, and marine life. It may also cover the costs of rebuilding, recovering damaged crops, and relocating all endangered populations.
Progress has been slow, and rich nations have been loath to commit financial resources out of fear that doing so would render them legally responsible for climate change. Developed nations pledged to donate $100 billion annually at the COP27 meeting to help offset the losses sustained by underdeveloped nations. The decision made in the implementation of the Paris Agreement (Article 9.4) requires scaled-up financial resources to balance the adaptation and mitigation processes. To achieve this balance between adaptation and mitigation, COP26 encouraged developed nations to at least double their collective adaptation finance by 2025.
During her address to the Glasgow Climate Negotiations in 2021 (COP26), the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, admonished the wealthier nations to stop throwing trash in her yard and then requested that she clean it up. She meant greenhouse gas emissions that generate severe storms and hurricanes, resulting in billions of dollars worth of damage. She advocated that wealthier nations compensate poorer nations for "loss and damage" caused by climate change.
Her argument was based on the fact that industrialized nations, such as the United States and the European Union, are responsible for the majority of heat-trapping pollutants released into the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Despite their lower emissions, developing nations are facing the brunt of a hotter climate in the form of more severe heat waves, floods, and droughts. At the summit, Mottley stated, "It is both unjust and immoral."