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 26, 2022 at 7:02pm

Pakistan’s ‘monster disaster’ brings climate compensation into focus


Extreme flooding over the summer has left an estimated 1,700 people dead, nearly 2 million homes destroyed, and billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure damage.

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres told diplomats last month that Pakistan was facing “a level of climate carnage beyond imagination” and that it was paying a “supersized price for man-made climate change”. The country has experienced extreme weather before, most notably in 2010 when record monsoon rains also caused widespread damage across the country.

But this year’s flooding feels different. The scale and intensity of the disaster is heightened, impacting vast areas of land and in provinces unused to seeing such rains. Half of the country has been designated as “calamity-hit”, according to the National Disaster Management Authority, with a further 40 districts declared as “flood-affected”. This means 75% of Pakistan has felt the impacts.

This is particularly true of Balochistan in the southwest of the country. Seasonal floods have usually been driven by conditions further north in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. This year, Balochistan, a huge yet sparsely populated region known more for its desert climate, has been one of the worst affected.

Helvetas, a Swiss international aid agency, has been in Pakistan for 40 years. Dr Arjumand Nizami, the organisation’s country director, tells Climate Home News the flooding was a “monster disaster” and likens it to “someone beating the hell out of the sky”.

Extreme contrasts
Helvetas helps communities to prepare for climate shocks.

This work includes reinforcing protective structures for villages and improving drainage to channel flood water towards agricultural land. Controlling water is important in places such as Balochistan due to frequent and severe drought. When the mountain rains do come, local people need to know how to use it.

It’s these extreme contrasts which make climate adaptation such a challenge in the country. “You either have too much or you have no water,” notes Nizami. “And these kinds of situations are becoming more frequent. We have emergency-like situations which require a humanitarian response. There’s no time for development because it’s one emergency after another.”

The emergency Pakistan now faces is on multiple levels: food shortages in areas which already rely on imports; hundreds of thousands of cattle lost; contaminated drinking supplies; and standing water increasing the likelihood of disease.

On a recent visit to Balochistan, Dr Nizami saw housing loss on such a scale that “one cannot imagine if life was ever there”.

The challenge of rebuilding a country where extreme weather is becoming commonplace is a long term one. And this is where the issue of loss and damage comes in.

In the weeks following the flooding, politicians, and diplomats, least not the UN secretary general, made clear the disconnect between Pakistan’s contribution to global greenhouse gases – less than 1% – and its position on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 26, 2022 at 7:03pm

Pakistan’s ‘monster disaster’ brings climate compensation into focus


Cop27 negotiations
As calls for climate compensation grow louder, Pakistan’s brutal experience could guide negotiations at Cop27 international negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt next month. How a deal will translate to the local level is unclear, but the projects that aid agencies, such as Helvetas, are developing can point the way.

Dr Nizami says the debate around loss and damage needs to focus on three areas: improved governance, early preparedness, and local capacity.

Helvetas is already working on these issues, from enhancing water management in remote areas to creating in-depth disaster risk scenarios for the Government. One of the benefits of this approach is cost. It’s cheaper and more effective to prepare for climate disasters before they happen than to conduct crisis management afterwards.

It’s difficult to see how Pakistan can begin to address these problems without outside assistance. The bill for the flooding sits at an estimated $30 billion. Inflation recently reached 27%. And one of the largest packages of financial assistance has come via a $1.17 billion IMF loan. This is clearly insufficient to meet the scale of this year’s extreme weather, let alone what might be round the corner.

“Disasters cannot be stopped. The rains will come,” adds Nizami. 2022’s flooding may serve to raise awareness of the need to fully prepare for the future. The Pakistani government has come a long way since the last major disaster in 2010 and climate change is now firmly on the policy agenda. It’s only by seeing this disaster through a climate lens that we can improve our response, and for the ones which follow.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 2, 2022 at 5:05pm

Near Kunri, a southern Pakistani town known as Asia's chilli capital, 40-year old farmer Leman Raj rustles through dried plants looking for any of the bright red chillis in his largely destroyed crop which may have survived.


"My crops suffered heavily from the heat, then the rains started, and the weather changed completely. Now, because of the heavy rains we have suffered heavy losses in our crops, and this is what has happened to the chillies," he said, holding up desiccated, rotten plants . "All the chillies have rotted away."

Devastating floods that wrecked havoc across Pakistan in August and September, on the back of several years of high temperatures, have left chilli farmers struggling to cope. In a country heavily dependent on agriculture, the more extreme climate conditions are hitting rural economies hard, farmers and experts say, underscoring the vulnerability of large swathes of South Asia's population to changing weather patterns.

Officials have already estimated damages from the floods at over $40 billion.

Pakistan, with 150,000 acres of chilli farms and producing 143 000 tonnes of chillies annually is ranked fourth in the world for chilli production. Agriculture forms the backbone of Pakistan's economy, which in a country that experts say is extremely vulnerable to climate change poses major risks.

Before the floods, the biggest problem was hotter temperatures, which were making it harder to successfully grow chilli, which needs more moderate conditions.

"When I was a child ... the heat was never so intense. We used to have a plentiful crop, now it has become so hot, and the rains are so scarce that our yields have dwindled," Leman Raj said.

Dr Attaullah Khan, the Director of the Arid Zone Research Centre, at Pakistan's Agricultural Research Council, told Reuters that even before the floods, the region had faced serious problems from heatwaves in the last three years, which was affecting the growth of chilli crops in the area.

Now the floods he said, posed a whole new set of challenges.

"Coming to climate change: how do we overcome that?” he said. "Planning has to be done on a very large scale. Four waterways that used to carry (excess) water to the ocean have to be revived. For that we will have to take some very hard decisions …. but we don't have any other choice."

Many farmers say they have already faced tough decisions.

As flooding inundated his farm a few months ago, Kunri farmer Faisal Gill decided to sacrifice his cotton crops to try to save chilli.

"We constructed dikes around cotton fields and installed pumps, and dug up tranches in the chill crop to accumulate water and pump it out into the cotton crop fields, as both crops are planted side by side," Gill said.

Destroying his cotton enabled him to save saved just 30% of his chilli crop, he said, but that was better than nothing.

In Kunri's bustling wholesale chilli market, Mirch Mandi, the effect is also being felt. Though mounds of bright red chilli dot the market, traders said there is a huge drop on previous years.

"Last year, at this time, there used to be around 8,000 to 10,000 bags of chillies in the market," said trader Raja Daim. "This year, now you can see that there are barely 2,000 bags here, and it is the first day of the week. By tomorrow, and the day after, it will become even less,” he said, adding an average day later in the week just 1,000 bags reached the market.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 2, 2022 at 5:06pm

World News | Pakistan: Most Flood Victims Back Home, Few Remain in Camps | LatestLY


The country's disaster management agency said the latest data shows that slightly less than 50,000 people are currently staying in camps in Sindh, compared to half a million who were living in tents there in September.

The record-breaking floods — which were worsened by climate change-- that hit Pakistan last summer — killed 1,735 people and displaced 33 million. In Sindh alone, the floods affected 12 million p ..Last month,

Pakistan has asked the international community to scale up a ..the World Bank estimated that the floods caused ..$40 billion in damages ..

Harsh winter weather could worsen the misery of flood victim ..

report said 98% of the area for wheat cultivation remains available ..for the next planting season — a positive sign as Pakistan h ..

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 3, 2022 at 7:41am

UN: 2 million children in flood-hit Pakistan missing school
The U.N. children’s agency says some 2 million children in areas of Pakistan devastated by floods this summer are still missing school


The U.N. children’s agency said on Thursday that some 2 million children in areas of Pakistan devastated by this summer's floods are still missing school.

The deluge, which began in mid-June, damaged or destroyed nearly 27,000 school buildings, UNICEF said, adding that it would likely be weeks, even months before flood waters completely subside. In some places, only rooftops of the school buildings are starting to emerge now, it said.

The record-breaking floods — which experts say were worsened by climate change — killed 1,735 people and displaced 33 million across Pakistan, mostly in the hardest-hit provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan.

According to Pakistani officials, 647 children were among those killed by the flooding.

UNICEF's education chief, Robert Jenkins, visited some of the flood survivors on Thursday, and later said it was unclear when the children who are still missing classes would be able to return to school.

“Almost overnight, millions of Pakistan’s children lost family members, homes, safety, and their education, under the most traumatic circumstances,” Jenkins said following the visit.

UNICEF has established more than 500 temporary learning centers in flood-hit districts and provided support and school supplies for teachers and flood victims.

Pakistan has also asked the international community to scale up aid for the country's flood survivors, now threatened by the upcoming winter.

On Wednesday, China announced an additional $68 million in aid to Pakistan, bringing China’s flood assistance to Pakistan to $150 million. The announcement came during Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s visit to Beijing.

China has so far been the largest contributor in response to Pakistan floods, followed by Washington, which has given $97 million in aid since June. The World Bank has estimated that the floods caused $40 billion in damages.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 5, 2022 at 8:02am

At COP27, flood-battered Pakistan leads push to make polluting countries pay


‘We never saw such heavy rains’
U.N. climate accords require wealthy countries to provide funds to help developing nations curb their emissions and adapt to a changing climate. But there is no such financial support for vulnerable people to deal with harm that has already occurred.

During negotiations over the Paris agreement in 2015, the United States demanded that the article on loss and damage specify it “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation.”


DADU, Pakistan — Before the floods, Mazhar Hussain Birhamni dreamed of becoming a scholar. The 22-year-old wanted to pursue a master’s degree in English literature, to comprehend the world beyond the rural village in Pakistan where he lived with his parents.

But his books were washed away this summer amid historic flooding that scientists say was supercharged by climate change. After weeks of relentless rainfall, a nearby levee was breached in August, sending a waist-deep torrent rushing into his house. Birhamni’s family had just a few hours to escape with what little they could carry: pots and pans, small bags of food, a woven bed frame. With one-third of his country underwater and no help in sight, the college graduate’s dreams seemed lost to the deluge.

Low-income nations have long warned that rising temperatures would hit their citizens the hardest, punishing the people who contributed the least to planet-warming emissions and have the fewest resources to cope. Now, as the floods in Pakistan and other recent disasters make the consequences of climate change impossible to ignore, the world is gearing up for a showdown over who should pay the costs.

At this month’s U.N. climate negotiations in Egypt, Pakistan will lead a bloc of more than 100 developing nations insisting on compensation for the irreversible harms of climate change — a class of impacts collectively known as “loss and damage.” The bloc has called for the creation of a dedicated loss-and-damage fund, which hard-hit countries can rely on for immediate assistance after a disaster, rather than waiting for humanitarian aid or loans that will drive them into debt.

Wealthy countries have historically resisted such calls, fearing liability for the billions of dollars in damage that could be linked to their emissions. But the dramatic escalation in extreme weather, coupled with deep frustration over unfulfilled climate funding promises from the industrialized world, have put pressure on nations like the United States — which has resisted providing compensation — to shift their stance.

There are signs that attitudes may be changing. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said Thursday there is “no more time to postpone” the issue. Egypt will make loss and damage a priority agenda item at the upcoming talks. In September, Denmark announced a $13 million fund to assist vulnerable countries — the first U.N. member state to do so.

“With the Pakistan disaster the poster child of climate impacts, there is a change in the political mood, I think,” said Munir Akram, the country’s chief climate negotiator and permanent representative to the United Nations.

“To the developing countries that are suffering these impacts because of the policies of industrialized countries over the past 150 years,” he added, “this is a matter of climate justice.”


At last year’s talks, a cohort of developing nations that included major emitters like India as well as tiny island states like Vanuatu fought for language that urged their rich counterparts to fund loss and damage. A majority of countries supported it, but that text was ultimately dropped amid opposition from the United States and European Union.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 5, 2022 at 8:03am

At COP27, flood-battered Pakistan leads push to make polluting countries pay


At last year’s talks, a cohort of developing nations that included major emitters like India as well as tiny island states like Vanuatu fought for language that urged their rich counterparts to fund loss and damage. A majority of countries supported it, but that text was ultimately dropped amid opposition from the United States and European Union.

“There’s a lot of talk about global solidarity and so forth,” Akram said. “But there is this reluctance on the part of the Global North to accept or admit their policies caused this, and therefore they have a responsibility to respond to this.”

About a quarter of all greenhouse gas pollution produced by humans comes from the United States, according to data from the Global Carbon Project. More than 80 percent of planet-warming emissions comes from the world’s 20 largest economies.

By contrast, Pakistan is the source of less than 0.4 percent of historic carbon pollution.

And many Pakistanis have not benefited from the industrialization that drives greenhouse emissions. A 2021 analysis found that more than half of people in Pakistan are “energy poor” — meaning they lack reliable access to electricity, transport, communications equipment and basic household appliances.

But when blistering heat waves beset South Asia this summer — an event made 30 times more likely by climate change, according to scientists — there were dozens of deaths, huge crop losses and a massive flood from a melting glacier in Pakistan. The country suffered again after record rainfall during monsoon season caused catastrophic flooding.

At least 1,700 people were killed and 2 million homes were demolished by the floodwaters, according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority. Roads and bridges were washed away, thousands of schools were damaged and some 7,000 square miles of farmland were ruined, triggering food shortages.

A scientific analysis of the disaster found the rainfall was made 50 to 75 percent more intense by human-caused climate change. Pakistan received three times its usual precipitation in August, with the hardest-hit provinces experiencing their wettest months ever recorded, according to the study by the World Weather Attribution network.

Rising temperatures also have been linked to a historic drought in East Africa, which is pushing millions of people to the edge of starvation. Studies blame climate change for this year’s record-setting heat wave in China and deadly storms in Brazil.

Over the past two decades there has been an eightfold increase in the amount of humanitarian aid needed to respond to extreme weather — but donations are not keeping up, according to a report from the nonprofit Oxfam. Wealthy countries have also failed to fulfill a decade-old promise to provide $100 billion a year in financial support for climate-vulnerable regions.

“It feels totally wrong,” said Birhamni, the young college graduate. “This is a crime we didn’t commit and now we are being punished for it.”

When climate collides with poverty
When the floods washed away their village in southern Pakistan, Ali Sher Langah guided his wife and their two children more than a mile through a dangerous torrent to find high ground. Weeks later, they were living in a simple reed hut Langah built outside the city of Moro.

Malaria was spreading through the dozens of families that fled to the area. Venomous snakes slithered out of the floodwaters that still had not drained from the surrounding countryside. Some nights, the families killed as many as 10 of the creatures.

“If you are telling me that other countries are responsible for this, then yes, I feel anger,” the 55-year-old day laborer told a Post reporter. “But I know that God is almighty, and I believe this is God testing me.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 5, 2022 at 8:03am

At COP27, flood-battered Pakistan leads push to make polluting countries pay


Langah’s family is among some 12 million people still in need of shelter and basic household items, according to a U.N. situation report published last month. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women lack access to health care, and millions of children have nothing to eat.

At the same time, Pakistan is grappling with more than $30 billion in physical and economic losses from the floods, a World Bank report found. Devastation to agriculture and other industries is expected to shrink the national gross domestic product by more than 2 percent.

Rebuilding damaged infrastructure in a resilient way will cost the country more than $16 billion, the World Bank said — a bill the cash-strapped nation can ill afford to pay.

Experts say the disaster in Pakistan illustrates what happens when the climate crisis collides with long-standing problems of poverty, dysfunction and debt.

The damage from this year’s rain, the World Weather Attribution study found, was exacerbated by Pakistan’s fragile water infrastructure. A government inquiry after a similar flash flood event in 2010 found significant problems with the system of dams and levees along the Indus River, much of which dates back to the colonial era. Although the country was able to construct a flood mitigation wall and improve its early warning system, other recommendations went unheeded, needed upgrades never happened, and reservoirs remained clogged, the study said.

Many residents accused government officials of pocketing funds meant for disaster preparedness. Pakistan is ranked 140th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

But Pakistani officials say they have been hamstrung by high levels of debt — much of it linked to a stagnant economy, the coronavirus pandemic and the cost of recovering from previous disasters. The necessity of paying off past loans meant the government couldn’t invest in forward-looking projects. Agreements with development banks such as the International Monetary Fund have required Pakistan to slash its federal budget and stopped the country from increasing its deficit to meet immediate needs.

“That forced Pakistan to shift funds out of places like the National Disaster Management Authority,” said Malik Amin Aslam Khan, who served as Pakistan’s minister of climate change until this year. “And when disaster struck … that authority did not have the funds to do what it could have done and should have done.”

In high-income nations, over half of monetary losses and damage from climate-related extreme weather are insured, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Citizens can rely on their governments for help with housing, food and health care after a disaster. Officials will release billions of dollars in recovery money to help communities rebuild.

But Pakistan’s resources were swiftly exhausted by the overwhelming scope of the flood damage, leaving the nation dependent on outside humanitarian aid.

Such donations can be slow and unreliable, said Akram, the Pakistani negotiator. It may take weeks for money from donor countries to make it into the hands of those who need it. And donor fatigue can hamper the flow of funds in years when the world endures numerous disasters.

There is even less funding available to compensate countries dealing with slow-onset disasters that attract fewer headlines: Eroding coastlines from rising seas. Declines in fish populations that people rely on for food. The disappearance of cultural sites and sacred landscapes.

“The countries who suffer from this should have the ability to access financing automatically so they don’t have to go around with their hands out, and depend on generosity and largesse of richer countries every time,” Akram said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 5, 2022 at 12:43pm

Loss and damage must be at heart of Cop27 talks, experts say
Campaigners say talks could fail before they begin unless issue of loss and damage is put on agenda


Cop27, the UN climate summit beginning this Sunday in Egypt, could fail before it even starts if countries do not agree to put the loss and damage experienced by the poorest countries at the heart of the talks, according to climate experts and campaigners.

Delegates began to arrive at the conference centre on Saturday, and the talks will formally open on Sunday with a session deciding what should be on the agenda for the two weeks of negotiations, before world leaders gather on Monday and Tuesday.

But there are concerns that the talks will not properly address one of the most pressing issues, called loss and damage. This refers to the most devastating impacts of extreme weather, which can destroy a country’s physical infrastructure and tear apart its social fabric.

Prof Saleemul Huq, the director at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, told the Guardian: “I am hopeful that there will be progress at last on finance for loss and damage at Cop27. There are currently ongoing discussions on whether to include it in the Cop agenda or not. Failure to include it will mean the Cop failing before it even starts officially.”

Under the UN rules, an agenda item must be agreed on at the opening session. There is widespread willingness among developed and developing countries for an agenda item on loss and damage, but the Guardian understands that some large developing economies are shying away from the issue.

Harjeet Singh, the head of global political strategy at Climate Action Network International, called for developed countries at the talks to take a lead. “Rich governments must engage in a constructive manner to address the ongoing injustice of climate-induced loss and damage, by committing to deliver support to those being impacted and by phasing out fossil fuels,” he said. “This is the Cop where polluters must be put in the dock and be held accountable.”

Cop27, the latest edition of the annual UN climate talks, is taking place amid high geopolitical tensions over the Ukraine war, soaring energy and food prices and a cost of living crisis around the world. Even the Egyptian hosts have admitted this will be the most difficult set of talks in at least a decade.

António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said in an interview on the eve of the talks that there was a gulf between the rich – who have caused the climate crisis and failed to cut greenhouse gas emissions – and the poor, who are suffering from the effects and lack the financial resources to protect themselves.

He called for this gap to be bridged by countries agreeing new ways of financing help for the poor experiencing loss and damage from extreme weather, and by big emitters reducing their carbon output faster. “There is no way we can avoid a catastrophic situation, if the two [the developed and developing world] are not able to establish a historic pact,” he said. “Because at the present level, we will be doomed.”


About 120 world leaders, including the UK’s Rishi Sunak, France’s Emmanuel Macron and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, will gather on Monday and Tuesday at the conference centre in Sharm el-Sheikh, where the already stringent Egyptian security for the talks will be tightened further.

Campaigning groups face having their pavilions and stalls shut down while world leaders meet, and demonstrations at the Cop will be strictly policed, while many activists will be confined to a different site. Plainclothes Egyptian government security guards were heavily in evidence throughout the conference centre and the surrounding area on Saturday.

Joe Biden will come later in the week, owing to the looming US midterm elections. Boris Johnson, the former UK prime minister, is also expected.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 6, 2022 at 7:44am

Evangelical scientist Katharine Hayhoe finds hope in United Nations’ climate report
'That's how the world changes: When individuals have the courage of their convictions and use their voices to call for change,' the climate scientist told Religion News Service.


Question: What are your takeaways from the latest IPCC report?

Answer: The IPCC reports are like doorstops of doom — thousands of pages that summarize the results of tens of thousands of peer reviewed scientific studies that are once again clearly stating that climate is changing, humans are responsible, the impacts are serious and the time to act is now.

So what’s new about this latest report? It shows why it matters. It says: Here’s what is already happening right here, right now. No matter where you live, here’s how climate change is affecting your water, your food, the safety of your homes, your economy, your energy systems, even national security, our ecosystems, our agriculture. Here is how these changes are affecting us. Here is how unequally these changes are distributed. It shows very clearly how the impacts of climate change fall disproportionately on the poorest and most vulnerable people. The 3.5 billion poorest in the world have produced 7% of heat-trapping gas emissions, yet they’re bearing the brunt of the impacts. And that speaks profoundly to us as people of faith.

What the report also says is that we are not adapting fast enough to the changes we’ve already seen, and if we don’t cut our emissions as much as possible, as soon as possible, we will not be able to adapt.


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