Floods in Pakistan: Biggest Global Polluters US, Europe, China and India Must Accept Responsibility

Pakistan, a country that has contributed only 0.28% of the CO2 emissions, is among the biggest victims of climate change. The US, Europe, India, China and Japan, the world's biggest polluters, must accept responsibility for the catastrophic floods in Pakistan and climate disasters elsewhere. A direct link of the disaster in Pakistan to climate change has been confirmed by a team of 26 scientists affiliated with World Weather Attribution, a research initiative that specializes in rapid studies of extreme events, according to the New York Times

Top 5 Current Polluters. Source: Our World in Data

Currently, the biggest annual CO2 emitters are China, the US, India and Russia. Pakistan's annual CO2 emissions add up to just 235 million tons. On the other hand, China contributes 11.7 billion tons, the United States 4.5 billion tons, India 2.4 billion tons, Russia 1.6 billion tons and Japan 1.06 billion tons. 

Pakistan's Annual CO2 Emission. Source: Our World in Data

The United States has contributed 399 billion tons (25%) of CO2 emissions, the highest cumulative carbon emissions since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century. The 28 countries of the European Union (EU28), including the United Kingdom, come in second with 353 billion tons of CO2 (22%), followed by China with 200 billion tons (12.7%). 

Cumulative CO2 Emissions. Source: Our World in Data

Pakistan's cumulative CO2 contribution in its entire history is just 4.4 billion tons (0.28%). Among Pakistan's neighbors, China's cumulative contribution is 200 billion tons (12.7%),  India's 48 billion tons (3%) and Iran's 17 billion tons (1%).  

Developing Asian Nations' CO2 Emissions. Source: Our World in Data

Pakistan has contributed little to climate change but it has become one of its biggest victims. In the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, signatories agreed to recognize and “address” the loss and damage caused by those dangerous climate impacts, according to the Washington Post. Last year, at the major U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, negotiators from developing countries tried to establish a formal fund to help the countries like Pakistan most affected by climate disasters. It was blocked by rich countries led by the Biden administration. 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on October 5, 2022 at 7:06pm

#FloodsinPakistan: #Asian Development #Bank (#ADB) to provide $2.5 billion to #flood-ravaged #Pakistan. It would be the largest donation to the already impoverished country so far after the #WorldBank last month pledged $2 billion in aid. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/bank-to-provide-25-billion-to-...

Pakistan’s Finance Ministry said in a statement that the ADB’s country director, Yong Ye, announced the aid package at a meeting with Pakistan’s newly appointed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

It said Ye expressed sympathy over damages and deaths caused by the monsoon-related flooding in Pakistan.

The statement said Dar appreciated ADB’s role and support in promoting sustainable development in Pakistan and he apprised Ye of the devastation caused by the floods and their impact on the economy of Pakistan.

Pakistan says the record-breaking floods have caused at least $30 billion in damage.

The latest development comes a day after the United Nations — amid a surge in diseases in flood-hit areas of Pakistan — asked for five times more international aid for Pakistan.

Pakistanis are now at increasing risk of waterborne diseases and other ailments, which have killed more than 350 people since July. Another 1,697 deaths were caused by the deluges this year.

The U.N. on Tuesday raised its aid appeal for Pakistan to $816 million from $160 million, saying recent assessments pointed to the urgent need for long-term help lasting into next year.

The previous day, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said about 10% of all of Pakistan’s health facilities were damaged in the floods, leaving millions without access to health care.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 7:24am

#Tent cities popping up for #IDPs after #FloodsInPakistan2022. Levees built in #Pakistan to contain the #Indus overflow floods are preventing the rainstorm water from draining into the #river, resulting in standing water in the fields and homes in #Sindh. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/10/pakistan-...

The official emergency simulations made assumptions that highways to transport relief goods would remain intact. In the event, more than 5,000 miles of roads were washed away, and some routes were covered by 10 feet of water.

The country’s needs are changing too rapidly for the government to cope. At first, it scrambled to source tents and tarpaulins, because its own inventory did not cover even a fraction of what was called for. Then it struggled to provide clean drinking water because so many local sources were contaminated. And the demands for resources keep piling up: mosquito nets; birthing facilities for pregnant women; antivenom medicine, because any dry land is infested with snakes flooded out of their regular habitat; fodder, fencing, and veterinary care for people’s livestock.

The government initially had difficulty even finding dry areas on which to place camps for the displaced. Then, when they were established, many people avoided them because they couldn’t take their livestock. In agrarian Pakistan, buffalo are considered “black gold”; owning one changes a family’s entire livelihood. As a result, thousands of families camped wherever they could—on roadsides, on embankments, or anywhere with shelter. The government had no ready way to track where anyone was and who needed what.

Some of the post-monsoon mess stems from prior administrative incompetence. The provincial governments in Sindh and Balochistan did not have a comprehensive evacuation plan in case of flash floods. Maintenance problems meant that many of the canals had not been dredged effectively, and the country’s infrastructure for shedding water was simply overwhelmed. As if this was not scandal enough, Pakistan’s chief meteorologist was accused of embezzlement and dismissed after the rains had come.

Worse, some of the flooding was exacerbated by man-made measures taken earlier to control flooding. In 2010, Pakistan was hit by a disastrous “super flood” caused by the swollen Indus River overflowing its banks. In the aftermath, the government raised the river’s embankments. This time, when the exceptional monsoon rains came, the Indus stayed within its regular seasonal flow—but those higher levees were now holding back the stormwater from draining into the river.

Another part of the mess is simply the sort of chaos intrinsic to natural disasters. Sindh’s education minister issued an order to all the relief camps to establish schools for the displaced children of the new tent cities. Local officials in some districts understood this to mean that all the school buildings that had been adapted to make relief accommodation had to revert to functioning as schools. To obey the ministerial guidance, they evicted flood victims from classrooms in the middle of the night so that regular schooling could resume. No students showed up in the morning, of course, and no one knows where those people went.

Such problems were exacerbated by institutional overreach and failures of coordination. Sindh’s high court elbowed its way into relief distribution and ordered the government to set up committees headed by judges to monitor the work. As a result, when aid trucks were handed over to district commissioners, many officials refused to distribute any supplies until the judges came in person. The commissioners say they don’t want to risk being hauled before courts. Meanwhile, people saw trucks lined up with goods they couldn’t access, which led to suspicion that officials were misappropriating the aid. And because crisis profiteering occurs in every disaster, scattered instances of hoarding are seen as proof of widespread corruption.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 6, 2022 at 7:24am

#Tent cities popping up for #IDPs after #FloodsInPakistan2022. Levees built in #Pakistan to contain the #Indus overflow floods are preventing the rainstorm water from draining into the #river, resulting in standing water in the fields and homes in #Sindh. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/10/pakistan-...


More of the mess involves wrangling over difficult decisions and their political costs. To help the floodwaters drain, relief cuts have to be dug. But in almost every case, these cuts will result in collateral damage to villages and fields. And those affected are not easily persuaded that choices about the sites of these drainage ditches have been based on purely technical considerations. The existing deficit of trust between the people and government creates a rumor mill about how such flood-remediation measures are a means of settling political scores by deluging opponents’ property.

The flooding has not led to any abatement in the country’s political turmoil. The populist political opposition led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan is continuing its rallies and campaigns, heckling ministers during appeals for flood donations. His party tacitly encourages its followers to use social media to lobby world leaders not to assist the government with aid, claiming that the money will be siphoned off. So what is true locally also applies nationally: The suffering of the rural poor in the flood zone has become partisan hackery.

Salma, a schoolteacher and nonprofit worker (I learned only her first name), fled with her family from her home in the Sindh countryside to Karachi. Her district of Shahdadkot is still under feet of water. “I’ve heard the buzzwords,” she told me. “Climate adaptation and whatnot, telling us to change the way we build our houses, change the way we live. Why don’t you tell the rest of the world that? To change the way it lives? Why should we adapt to the consequences of their actions?”

Her point: Pakistan contributes less than 1 percent to the world’s greenhouse gases, yet it is now suffering disproportionately from the effects of global warming. According to World Weather Attribution estimates, the monsoon rains from June to August were 50 percent more intense than they would have been had the climate not already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius. Scientists debate exactly how much of this year’s rain flooding is due to climate change, but most agree that past data are no longer a predictive guide. The summer floods followed an unusual springtime heat wave of 50-degree temperatures, forest fires, and crop destruction. Monsoon depressions typically travel north to south in the country, losing intensity as they go. This time, repeated storm cycles hit the south first and stayed there.

The federal and provincial governments are trying frantically to control the damage. Some cash has already been disbursed to the neediest in the flooded areas, and a wider compensation scheme for deaths and losses such as damaged homes, lost livestock, and destroyed crops has been promised. The estimated losses caused by the floods are equivalent to 10 percent of the country’s economic output—at a time when the country was already drowning in debt. The government had been in talks with the IMF about a bailout, barring which Pakistan was sure to default. The loan has now been approved—but with stringent conditions such as ending fuel subsidies, which will make everything more expensive.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 7, 2022 at 8:03am

#FloodsInPakistan2022: 'Cascading calamities' in #Pakistan drive #UnitedNations to quadruple funding appeal to $816 million. #UN chief António Guterres has called for "serious action" on loss and damage at next month's #COP27 #climate talks in Egypt. https://news.sky.com/story/cascading-calamities-in-pakistan-drive-u...

Rich polluting countries like the UK have a "moral responsibility" to help Pakistan recover from deadly flooding fuelled by climate change, the United Nations has said as the body quadruples its funding appeal.

The revised UN plan to help Pakistan recover from this summer's deadly flooding now calls for $816m (£728m) - a surge of $656m (£589m) from the initial appeal - just to cover the most urgent needs until next May.

In spite of the huge increase, the new figure still "pales in comparison to what is needed," to cover food, water, health and sanitation, shelter and emergency education, secretary-general António Guterres said.

The flooding has left more than three million children hungry, killed more than 1,300 people and inflicted an estimated $30bn (£26bn) in financial losses.

"These cascading calamities in Pakistan can linger for years to come," Mr Guterres warned today.

He told the United Nations General Assembly the "central question remains the climate crisis... greenhouse gas emissions are rising along with climate calamities".

"In particular, wealthier countries bear a moral responsibility to help places such as Pakistan recover, adapt and build resilience to disasters supercharged by the climate crisis," he said.

The group of 20 (G20) large economies, which includes the UK, USA, European Union and China, are responsible for 80% of all the world's greenhouse gas pollution.

The 2022 monsoon rainfall in Pakistan has been nearly three times higher than the 30-year average. Climate scientists agree that climate breakdown is making such weather extremes more likely, and intensified the rain in Pakistan this year.


Comment by Riaz Haq on October 9, 2022 at 4:47pm

Pakistan is the victim of “a grim calculus of climate injustice”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, while calling on industrialised nations that drive 80 per cent of climate-destroying emissions to help the country recover, adapt and build resilience to disasters.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1714207

While concluding a debate on the devastation caused by the recent floods, the UN chief called help for Pakistan a “moral responsibility” of industrialised nations.

“This time it is Pakistan, tomorrow, it could be any of our countries and our communities,” he added.

On Friday, the UNGA unanimously adopted a resolution urging donor nations and institutions to provide full support to rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.

Mr Guterres, who recently visited Pakistan, told the UNGA that flood waters covered a landmass three times the total area of his own country, Portugal.

“Pakistan is on the verge of a public health disaster”, he warned, adding that now cholera, malaria and dengue fever could take “far more lives than the floods”.

In another appeal for help, the UN refugee agency said on Saturday that it urgently needed relief goods for more than 650,000 people.

UNHCR Spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh said Pakistan was facing “a colossal challenge” and more support were needed.

In its latest estimates, UNHCR has recorded at least 1,700 deaths; 12,800 injured, including at least 4,000 children; some 7.9 million displacements; and nearly 600,000 living in relief sites.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 11, 2022 at 7:52am

Few countries are as vulnerable as Pakistan. Its cities regularly record some of the hottesttemperatures in the world, including a springtime heat wave this year made 30 times more likely bygreenhouse gases.That set the stage for summer monsoons that saw rainfall reach an intensity more than 50 per centgreater than would have been the case without planet-warming pollution. Both findings come fromWorld Weather Attribution, a leading research group that delivers rapid analysis of the link betweenextreme weather and climate change. 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-10-09/how-pakistan-s-f...

This is one example of powerful new evidence in the moral and political argument for climatereparations. As diplomats and world leaders prepare for next month’s annual UN climate summit,known as COP27, there’s likely to be renewed focus on the long-running dispute over who should payfor the devastation wrought by rising temperatures.Speeches and closed-door negotiations will involve calls for payments from high-emitting countries,most of which are wealthier and less vulnerable, to their low-emitting counterparts that suffer climateimpacts. The debate will be informed by the blatant suffering visible on the ground in Pakistan as wellas new data on exactly who is responsible for atmospheric pollution.Working with colleagues from Bloomberg’s data-visualization team, I took a deep look at cutting-edgeresearch into economic attribution for climate damage. Two Dartmouth researchers, ChristopherCallahan and Justin Mankin, recently published a study and data estimating for the first time howmuch economic growth, in terms of GDP, has been lost to developing countries as a result of burningfossil fuel.It’s striking to see estimated dollar figures linking the pollution by the two biggest emitters, the USand China, to more than $60 billion in economic losses for Pakistan. 
 

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 11, 2022 at 7:53am

How Pakistan’s Flood Crisis Bends Climate Talks Towards Reparations

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-10-09/how-pakistan-s-f...

Together, the US and China have created enough atmospheric impact to cost the world about $1.8trillion. The US alone was  1990 to 2014, according to research by the Dartmouth team. Mukwana’s experience driving through flooded provinces and walking along highways that havebecome makeshift homes for displaced people unifies the personal and the global in ways few willever experience. That’s because the people pushed aside by flood waters are, in part, victims of a problem even bigger than the monsoon.UN climate negotiations for many years focused almost exclusively on preventing new emissions andthe resulting rise of global average temperatures, a concept called “mitigation” in climate jargon.Diplomats and politicians have also taken up the question of “adaptation” — how nations might find the resources to afford greater resiliency. But Pakistan’s crisis has renewed emphasis on a more oftenignored section of the 2015 Paris Agreement that deals with a concept called “loss and damage.”Since the steepest costs of today’s climate continue to be borne by populations that emitted the least,recognizing loss and damage could mean that nations who gained the most from burning fossil fuelshould pay compensation. It’s a vision of climate reparations — and it’s long been opposed by wealthynations.When nearly 200 national delegations meet next month for COP27 in the Egyptian resort of Sharm ElSheikh, loss and damage is expected to eclipse most other topics on the agenda. In part this stemsfrom the coincidence that a Pakistani diplomat is currently the leader of the largest bloc of developingnations, known as the G77+China. The Egyptian hosts of this summit are also members of the bloc.Loss and damage has struggled to rise up the agenda for years. Developing nations last year went toCOP26 talks in Glasgow, Scotland, pushing for a formal process for dispatching finance and technicalhelp paid for by developed nations.That summit ended with only a loosely defined “dialogue” on the topic. There are fresh indicationsthat loss and damage may be treated with greater attention than ever before at COP27, even if it’s with“diverse views on the scope and timeframes” of how to tackle the issue, according to a briefing sharedon Friday by Ed King, a climate media and policy strategist.If or when countries agree on a structured way to help people deal with climate disasters, it won'tcome fast enough for the millions suffering from this year’s monsoon rains in Pakistan. Estimates ofdamage have tripled to $30 billion since the end of August. UN Office for the Coordination ofHumanitarian Affairs, which Mukwana represents in Pakistan, this week raised by a factor of five its initial aid goal, to $816 million, to pay for triage support through May 2023. Those funds might help  blunt a rapidly emerging public-health crisis. But it can’t compensate Pakistan for the brutal consequences of other people’s emissions.“How much can people go through these cyclical kinds of events?” Mukwana asks. “How much of it can people take?

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 16, 2022 at 11:01am

#Pakistan to seek several billion dollars for projects at #COP27 scheduled to be held in #SharmAlShaikh, #Egypt, November 6 to 18. Pak PM #ShahbazSharif will co-chair the #UN moot along with #Egyptian President Al-Sisi & PM of #Norway. #FloodsInPakistan
https://www.geo.tv/latest/445938-pakistan-may-seek-several-billion-...

Pakistan prepares to take up climate losses issue at COP27.
We are developing our strategies on account of loss and damage, says an official.
Climate expert says such negotiations are 'ardous'.

The government is awaiting the finalisation of the Post Disaster and Needs Assessment (PDNA) in consultation with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Union, and United Nations with the mandate to prepare an exact assessment of losses and construction costs by October 15.

However, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal told the publication that the PDNA report would be launched by the donors by October 25, as it got delayed because of the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank currently being held in Washington, DC.

Another senior official said that the donors had conducted over 90% damage and need assessments, and construction cost was largely agreed which might cross the $30 billion mark after completion of reconciliation with international donors.

Pakistan and the international donors will finalise the exact damage and need assessments by Friday (tomorrow) and reconciled figures will be shared with PM Shehbaz.

‘Arduous negotiations’
Aftab Alam, an expert on climate change, when contacted on Wednesday, said that the devastating floods in Pakistan put a global spotlight on Loss and Damage (L&D) as the country suffered economic losses of nearly $30 billion.

Subsequent disasters such as infrastructure destruction, health crisis, food insecurity and livelihood losses for millions of people further intensify the gravity of catastrophe. This is high time for developed countries to put on the table adequate Loss and Damage Finances for Pakistan, he added.

However, he said that climate negotiations are arduous and the government needs to design a robust strategy to push forward its case for loss and damage.

He said it has been a demand of climate-vulnerable countries for the last 31 years. “They had put it on the table in 1991 even before the inception of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since then, these countries have suffered humongous lives, livelihoods and economic losses.”

As part of loss and damage estimates, Aftab Alam recommended that Pakistan should combine flood losses with damages from heatwaves that preceded floods this year.

The heatwaves destroyed nearly 3 million tons of wheat and a large number of other crops, including mangoes.

To develop a robust strategy on Loss and Damage at COP27, Pakistan needs to involve the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), The African Group of Negotiators (AGN), and the G77 +China, he concluded.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 19, 2022 at 4:20pm

Record #FloodsInPakistan: $40 Billion Of Damage In #Pakistan As #Monsoons Devastate #SouthAsia, roughly $10 billion higher than previous estimates—according to #WorldBank. 1,500 people dead and 33 million people affected. #Sindh #Floods #Rains #Floods https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianbushard/2022/10/19/record-floodin...

Pakistani officials said Wednesday the flooding from historic monsoon rains, which killed nearly 1,500 people and affected 33 million people, was made worse by a lack of “financial and technical resources” for flood response.

Earlier this week, Sharif announced he plans to ask international lenders for billions of dollars in loans for recovery efforts and to rebuild devastated areas, telling the Financial Times the country needs “huge sums of money,” while Pakistani Senator Sherry Rehman said the country has already “repurposed all its existing budgetary envelopes” toward flood relief.

The deadly flooding in Pakistan is one of a handful of catastrophic flood events this year, including ongoing flooding in Nigeria from heavy rain and the release of a dam in neighboring Cameroon that left at least 600 people dead and 2,400 injured, with another 1.4 million displaced.

Major flooding this summer in Bangladesh, China and India also killed more than 100 after rainfall in the area hit a 50-year high, while record rainfall inundated parts of western China killing 300 and damaging 9,000 homes, and flooding in northern China killed 28, destroying nearly 20,000 houses and forcing 120,000 people to evacuate.

The United Nations is asking for $816 million in humanitarian aid for Pakistan, up from a previous request of $160 million, as secondary effects of flooding emerge, including water-borne diseases and hunger—Reuters reported earlier this month the U.N. has so far received $90 million in aid for the country.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 26, 2022 at 10:23am

‘It’s the fault of climate change’: Pakistan seeks ‘justice’ after floods
Disaster puts country at forefront of debate about who should pay for ravages of global warming

https://www.ft.com/content/e69ece7d-11fb-4a8f-91ea-35b98d4b54db


When the Indus river burst its banks during heavy rains and flash flooding in late August, Bushra Sarfaraz’s three goats drowned and she lost her home for a second time.

The first time was in Pakistan’s floods in 2010 — the worst in recent memory until this year’s, which submerged vast swaths of low-lying areas, in what officials describe as the worst natural disaster in their country’s history.

“I want to feel settled for once in my life — to live in a place that doesn’t get washed away again and again,” said Sarfaraz, a labourer who is now living with her husband and children in a tent camp on rocky land near Thatta in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province.

While some of those displaced by the calamity have returned home since the waters began receding, others have no homes to return to, and are living in tents near pools of cloudy water, or on the side of roads a few metres above inundated fields.

“Every year the water comes, and every year we drown,” said Qurban Ali Lashari, another labourer displaced by the floods and living in the tent camp.



The disaster puts Pakistan at the forefront of evolving thinking in the international community about how to pay for countries’ adaptation to the ravages of global warming — and who should pick up the bill. Climate change contributed to up to 50 per cent of the rains that made this August the wettest on record in Sindh and neighbouring province Balochistan, according to a study by the World Weather Attribution group.

Pakistan’s government says the floods affected 33mn of its 230mn people, hitting the low-lying and normally arid southern provinces hardest. In flatlands with few slopes, the water that fell in August and September has nowhere to drain, and is evaporating slowly in drier weather.

Pakistan is now preparing to ask donors for new loans to clean up and rebuild infrastructure that would be able to withstand worsening weather patterns, in an effort it estimates will cost $30bn. 

“If you look at the numbers, it is the climate event of the century, not just for Pakistan but for the whole world,” said Sherry Rehman, climate change minister. “It surpassed all numbers for climate events, and it is now creating a catastrophic health crisis.”

In the Thatta camp where Sarfaraz and Lashari live — one of 27 in the district — people are being treated for waterborne ailments including malaria, dengue, and diarrhoea. “Skin diseases are very common nowadays,” said Shireen Soomro, a doctor in the camp.

International and Pakistani officials have also warned that many farmers will not be able to sow their crops for months, after their fields were heavily silted by flood water. This, they say, raises fears about food security in a year when prices for foodstuffs soared after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pakistan was already in severe financial distress when the disaster struck. Days before the downpours and flash flooding hit, Islamabad had secured much-needed loan pledges from China and Gulf countries and a $2.2bn bailout from the IMF.

The UNDP, which is completing an assessment of the country’s recovery and rebuilding needs, last month proposed Pakistan should seek to suspend payments on its $130bn external debt so that it could prioritise its disaster response.

“We can’t service our debts, to be honest,” said Sakib Sherani, chief executive of Macro Economic Insights, a consultancy. “Floods or no floods, we would have had a problem in the next fiscal year.” 

Some climate activists have argued that Pakistan’s floods bolster the case for “climate reparations”, or financial transfers from rich countries with the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions to poor countries that emit less but are feeling the brunt of climate change.

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