Rich countries caused Pakistan’s catastrophic flooding. Their response? Inertia and apathy

(The Guardian, 5 Sep 2022) If Cop27 fails to bring the major polluters to heel, the global south will be forced to act on its own.

What we’ve witnessed this summer in Pakistan is nothing short of a climate catastrophe. First came the early heatwaves that brought an end to spring, reducing crop yields and increasing the rate of glacial melt. Then came the monsoon downpours that lasted for days on end and wreaked havoc across the country. One-third of Pakistan is now underwater. More than 1,200 people have been killed and more than 33 million people affected. And the monster monsoon isn’t over yet.

Experts say the heavy rainfall was caused by higher than average warming of the Arabian Sea. In Sindh province, which produces half the country’s food,90% of crops are ruined. More than 75% of Balochistan, which covers half of Pakistan, is partially or completely damaged. People’s homes and patches of land are inundated. Of the 650,000 pregnant women who have been directly affected in flood-hit areas, 73,000 will be delivering their babies this month. The sheer scale of destruction those children will be born into is unimaginable.

The “third pole”, as it is often called, is a vast mountainous region that stretches from Myanmar to Afghanistan. This frigid wall of ice separates China and seven south Asian countries, including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The region is home to the world’s highest peaks and countless glaciers. The flights from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, to the northern cities Gilgit and Skardu take barely an hour. In the good old days before Pakistan’s national carrier ran into financial difficulties, it also used to run a weekly flight called the air safari. If you were lucky enough to get a window seat, the journey was a visual feast.

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The Guardian, 5 Sep 2022: Rich countries caused Pakistan’s catastrophic flooding. Their response? Inertia and apathy