Pakistan emits less than 1% of the world’s emissions, but it is unfortunately the poster child of the dangers climate change will bring. It recently suffered its most devastating monsoon that took the lives of over 1,100 residents.
Not only was the toll on life incredibly high, it is the most costly natural disaster the country has ever experienced. While it’s too early to put a price tag on the damages, so far, over 1,864 miles of roads, 130 bridges, and nearly half a million homes have been destroyed.
This has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and it has seemingly changed the landscape of the country overnight. Even if the country were to receive international aid, it would take years to recover from such a disaster.
And all of this damage is just from the global temperature being above 1.2 degrees Celcius. Even with the Paris Agreement, the goal is to limit it to just 1.5C.
Things will get worse no matter what.
Climate Change Does Not Affect all Nations Equally
Pakistan does not contribute greatly to global emissions, yet, it is feeling the full effect of climate change today.
In no uncertain terms, the country needs to rebuild itself to be more resilient to climate change. Yet, how can this be accomplished when it has to continuously pay for damages caused by changes created by other countries?
It’s a real catch-22, and the only real solution is international aid.
To be completely honest, this is the case for just about every developing nation in the world. They simply are not in a position to make themselves more climate resilient. And that won’t be changing any time soon.
Let’s not beat around the bush; now is a horrible time to be in need of aid.
Inflation is taking the world by storm and countries need every dollar to help their own residents. While there is hope it may come down by early next year, that’s still debatable and far away.
However, the UN is trying to act fast and has a proposed bill to provide $160 billion in humanitarian aid to the country.
Pakistan Is Only the Beginning; It Will Get Worse
To reiterate, the Paris Agreement’s goal, which may be unachievable at this point, was to limit global warming to just 1.5C.
Nonetheless, this kind of event is already happening at 1.2C above preindustrial emission levels. Storms like this will not be the exception, they will become the rule.
While it may seem like it’s only affecting undeveloped nations, this is blatantly false.
In the United States, Kentucky suffered one of its worst flood events. And it would have never happened without climate change. It showcased that even the richest nation in the world is susceptible to the dangers of climate change.
Not to mention how the US is suffering from massive heat waves, droughts, and intensified hurricanes.
As emissions continue to climb, these natural disasters will only get worse. Nations rich and poor need to restructure their cities and towns to become more resilient to the brutal reality of climate change.
Pakistan has demonstrated that time is running out.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.