As Pakistan goes through a harrowing ordeal with incessant monsoon rains submerging a third of the country, federal climate minister Sherry Rehman has argued that the western nations owe developing nations reparations for accelerating climate change.
“There is so much loss and damage with so little reparations to countries that contributed so little to the world’s carbon footprint that obviously the bargain made between the global north and global south is not working,” said Rehman in an interview with The Guardian.
Rehman in clear terms batted for a reset of targets and asserted that “richer countries must do more”.
“Historic injustices have to be heard and there must be some level of climate equation so that the brunt of the irresponsible carbon consumption is not being laid on nations near the equator which are obviously unable to create resilient infrastructure on their own,” added Rehman.
Rehman was named the climate change minister in April earlier this year when Imran Khan was ousted as the prime minister. She has been a vocal critic of the western nations who have often dubbed the developing nations as the major contributor to greenhouse emissions, contrary to data available.
“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,” added Rehman.
“Global warming is the existential crisis facing the world and Pakistan is ground zero – yet we have contributed less than 1 per cent to [greenhouse gas] emissions. We all know that the pledges made in multilateral forums have not been fulfilled.”
Rehman’s arguments indeed paint the right picture as the South Asian country has witnessed a flurry of extremes of climate catastrophes, primarily caused due to historic carbon emissions from the west.
According to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) the floods that inundated a third of the country, affecting over 33 million people, were preceded by numerous climate change instances, like four heatwaves, and various raging forest fires.
WATCH | Pakistan Floods: One-third of country underwater, Child deaths, waterborne diseases, UN expresses concern
Even as relief efforts continue, the devastating floods have claimed nearly 1,300 lives while more than 736,459 animals have lost their lives as well.
According to official estimates, the destruction by the floods has already cost the Pakistani exchequer more than $10 billion.
For a country that has been under extreme financial duress for quite some time, the long-term effect of the last two months could be devastating.
(With inputs from agencies)
WATCH WION LIVE HERE: