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📰 "Pakistan Wants Climate Reparations"

Today, Explained

Photo by Kelly Sikkema | Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Noel King
Guests: Zuha Siddiqui | Journalist &
Husain Haqqani | Former Pakistan Ambassador to US
Category: 📰 News | Climate Reparations

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[0:00] NK: "For weeks, we’ve been hearing about the damage that flooding has done to Pakistan. [...] 1,500+ people dead, 30 million+ displaced, 70% of crop staples destroyed. [...] The water isn’t receding; it may not for months in some areas. So kids and their families are sleeping next to pools of stagnant water full of feces, fertilizer, and disease. They’re drinking that water to survive. [...] Pakistan is making [the case] to rich countries that they are owed help."

[3:47] ZS: "In the north [of Pakistan], you've got an abundance of glaciers, over 7,000, and in the south you've got a desert, you've got a river that runs from the north of the country right down to the south, where it sinks into the Arabian Sea. [...] That makes Pakistan extremely vulnerable to climate change, because when glaciers melt in the north, they increase the volume of water in the Indus River, which then travels south, inundating villages and towns which also form the country's breadbasket."

[6:02] ZS: "Nearly a third of the country is flooded. [...] The climate change minister described it as a climate change disaster of epic proportions. [...] It's worse than the floods we saw in 2010, both in terms of its magnitude and in terms of the region that has been affected."

[10:22] ZS: "To a large extent, folks on ground are blaming the Pakistani government for the catastrophe that has taken place. Some flood victims, [...] who live in areas that were flooded by the 2010 super flood, are now questioning why more wasn't done in the past decade to flood proof their communities, why climate resilient housing wasn't encouraged, and why the government poured in all their money into building mega-projects like dams that essentially did nothing to prevent the floods from taking place."

[11:55] ZS: "[The Pakistani government] want[s] climate reparations from the global north. Specifically from countries that have a larger carbon footprint and that contribute more to emissions. [...] And their argument for this is that Pakistan contributes less than 1% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and that they deserve compensation for the loss and damage incurred as a consequence. [...] Pakistan is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. It faces a rate of warming considerably above global average, with a potential rise of 1.3 to 4.9 degrees Celsius by the 2090s. And the economy and the people of this country are suffering, and they need all the assistance it can get."

[19:09] HH: "I think that reparations are not a practical thing in the modern world [...]. All reparations are paid only when somebody can enforce them and when there is no enforcement mechanism, people generally do not pay reparations. So it is a great [...] one liner to say that the big emitters of the past, those who have polluted the world, have a responsibility towards paying the poorer countries that are suffering from their past excesses. And maybe it's even a fair point to make at an academic level. But in the real world, I do not see any major country paying Pakistan reparations. On the other hand, what is more likely to happen is that the international community can be persuaded to provide Pakistan relief assistance because there is a human tragedy unfolding and the world has a track record of rising to helping nations that are afflicted with humanitarian tragedies."

[25:03] HH: "What's happening in Pakistan should be a wakeup call that if we do not and cannot help Pakistan, then tomorrow there will be another region and another country that will have a similar catastrophe on its hands. So the world as a whole needs to take matters relating to climate change much more seriously."

Rating: 💧💧💧💧

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🗓️ 09/21/2022
✅ Time saved: 25 min

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