December 6, 2022

Pakistan says horrific floods reinforce the need for compensation

Pakistan says horrific floods reinforce the need for compensation

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – Pakistan’s foreign minister said the catastrophic floods that inundated a third of the country earlier this year underscore the need for rich countries to provide compensation, A very contentious issue which took center stage at the leading United Nations climate conference.

Consider compensation, or “loss and damage” financing A fundamental issue of climate justice. The hot issue made history on Sunday at the opening of the COP27 climate summit by formally adopting it on the agenda for the first time.

The decision to include loss and damage financing as an agenda item, proposed by Pakistan, was preceded 48 hours before the talks.

Climate envoys meeting in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh will now discuss a deal on a financing facility that would provide rich nations with money for losses and damages to vulnerable nations.

Pakistan Parliament Speaker Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told CNBC that it has been a success that loss and damage funding has finally been adopted on the COP27 agenda, highlighting the role developing countries have played in building consensus on the issue.

He now hopes that the international community can find a way to collectively address the financing of loss and damage.

“We found out first-hand through the horrific, catastrophic floods we experienced earlier this year, and we are still dealing with the consequences of that, … an event of this magnitude. [does] We don’t have any international financial mechanism available to us to be able to address a tragedy of this magnitude.”

Watch CNBC's full interview with Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Months of relentless rain in Pakistan inundated swathes of the South Asian country, displacing millions as floods swept away homes, transportation, crops and livestock. Zardari estimated the total damage to be an “astronomical” amount of $30 billion.

Zardari said Pakistan was “aware” of the difficult economic environment, citing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine, but added that “this has already become a double tragedy” for the country.

The disaster highlights the disparity between those most affected by the consequences of global warming and those who have The biggest historical responsibility for the climate crisis.

“We cannot deny that losses and damages do not exist. I mean that a third of my country is under water and this will prove otherwise, but I do not want to consider this as some kind of liability or compensation,” Zardari said, referring to the reluctance of rich countries to take responsibility for losses and damages.

He warned that this will not stop at Pakistan. “The next affected country must have something available so that they can remedy the losses and damages.”

Not a very constructive agenda

Rich countries have long opposed creating a fund to address loss and damage and many policymakers fear that accepting responsibility could lead to a wave of lawsuits by countries on the front lines of the climate emergency.

US climate envoy John Kerry indicated earlier that the United States would not be willing to compensate countries for losses and damages incurred as a result of the climate emergency.

However, in an apparent softening of that position, Kerry has since said that Washington will not “disrupt” talks about losses and damages at COP27.

US climate envoy John Kerry said Washington would not “disrupt” talks over loss and damage in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Months of relentless rain in Pakistan has inundated swathes of the South Asian country.

Asif Hassan | Afp | Getty Images

When asked if there was a risk that lobbying for loss and damage funding could break down talks at COP27, Singh replied: “What I’m saying in this regard is that loss and damage hasn’t been on the table for the past 30 years and look at what happened.” .

“Loss and damage is a report card for inaction for the past 30 years. Loss and damage tells us there are consequences now,” Singh said. “If we were talking about loss and damage in 1992, if we didn’t mitigate, you would have to pay for the loss and damage, you would have gotten it right in the beginning.”

Finance is the key to everything happening

Meanwhile, former UN climate official Patricia Espinosa told CNBC that climate finance “is the key to making everything happen.”

“This has been the case for quite a few conferences but now that we’re starting an era of implementation, this is an area that will make a difference.”

Pakistan struggles in wake of historic floods

Espinosa said she is particularly concerned about the fact that rich countries’ pledge of $100 billion in climate finance in 2009 to help low-income countries mitigate and adapt to the climate emergency has not yet been fulfilled.

“It’s at the core of the kind of mistrust that we’re seeing so I’m very concerned about that,” Espinosa said.

“There is a very clear need to find money and I don’t see it. However, what I hope will happen is that we can really start to have a serious and informed conversation about financing loss and damage,” she added.