First world countries are the main polluters, but it’s the poor who foot the bill, the climate minister said
Rich countries, which are responsible for the bulk of greenhouse emissions, should pay out reparations to developing economies as the latter bear the brunt of global warming, Pakistan’s climate minister told UK media on Sunday as her country is facing unprecedented floods.
Sherry Rhman, the minister for climate change, spoke to The Guardian about global emissions targets and reparations. This is because countries like Pakistan are becoming more vulnerable due to climate catastrophes.
Rehman described global warming as “The existential crises,” adding that Pakistan has contributed less than 1% to greenhouse gas emissions. She accused first world nations of failing to fulfill their commitments on climate change. “All of us know the unfulfillment of multilateral forum pledges”, she stressed.
“There is so much loss and damage with so little reparations to countries that contributed so little to the world’s carbon footprint,” she said, adding that the bargain made between the global north and global south is obviously not working.
Recent months have seen a series of devastating floods in Pakistan that has claimed the lives of at least 1,265 and 441 children. This calamity has decimated 33 million lives and is being largely attributed to climate change.
Many towns received 500-700% more rain than usual in August, which caused the inundation. Floods in Sindh have destroyed 90% of the crops and left Pakistan cash strapped.
Pakistan’s climate minister said the government is doing its best to mitigate the fallout, but its rescue and aid missions had been hindered by ongoing rain, with a third of the country currently under water.
Although Rehman indicated that she understood the challenges the world is facing due to Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict, she said “More must be done by richer countries” to stave off climate change.
“Big polluters often try to greenwash their emissions but you can’t walk away from the reality that big corporations that have net profits bigger than the GDP of many countries need to take responsibility.”
The UN launched Tuesday a $160 million joint plan appeal to aid the country. Antonio Guterres (UN Secretary General) said that the initiative will provide aid for the country’s most vulnerable citizens, including food, water and sanitation.