Pakistan is only flooding the tip of the ‘climate change iceberg’

Pakistan is only flooding the tip of the ‘climate change iceberg’
Pakistan is only flooding the tip of the ‘climate change iceberg’

WASHINGTON: “The scenes emerging from Pakistan are heartbreaking,” the head of a US Senate panel on South Asia has said as US national security adviser Jake Sullivan assured Islamabad that Washington “ will continue to support Pakistan during this tragic time.”

The statements, released by their offices on Thursday, followed media warnings that Pakistan was facing a flood of “biblical proportions” and that the international community should not leave the country to fend for itself in the face of this “unprecedented disaster.” ”.

At UN Headquarters in New York, Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram reminded the international community that “Pakistan’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is negligible, but it is facing the most severe consequences. most deadly of the changes caused by these emissions”.

“Today it’s Pakistan, tomorrow it could be another country,” he said in a series of interviews with various media. “We must all act in solidarity and find collective ways to deal with this existential threat.”

Pakistan contributes less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet suffers some of its most severe impacts.

In Washington, the American ambassador to Pakistan, Masood Khan, also underlined this point. “The floods are linked to global warming and go beyond past events,” Ambassador Khan said, quoting climate experts.

A report by Axios, a US media, noted that “the estimated one million homes destroyed in the floods were occupied by people who had a very low carbon footprint compared to the average US or EU citizen”.

Adviser Sullivan also acknowledged that Pakistan was “suffering the devastating effects of the floods” and Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured Islamabad that the United States would continue to provide “essential humanitarian assistance such as food, drinking water and shelter”.

“We stand with Pakistan at this difficult time,” Mr Blinken said in his second statement on the floods this week.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced $30 million in lifesaving humanitarian assistance to Pakistan days after releasing about $1 million in immediate relief.

Senator Chris Murphy, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on South Asia, noted that “the strong monsoon season this year has resulted in unprecedented flooding and subsequent devastating casualties” in Pakistan.

“Far too often, those with the least responsibility and the fewest resources are the most affected by the climate crisis,” he said.

“I will continue to monitor this crisis and urge the administration to continue to provide assistance to ensure that the people of Pakistan get the support they need,” Senator Murphy added.

Andrew Freedman, climate and energy reporter for Axios, noted that “the scale and severity of this event is staggering, with the area and population affected exceeding the severity of the disastrous floods seen in 2010, which cost approximately $10 billion”.

Citing recent climate studies, the report warned that “back-to-back extreme weather events due to man-made global warming” could follow, as “Pakistan is Exhibit A” which is coming.

Posted in Dawn, September 2, 2022

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