Pakistan, hit by “devastating” floods this summer, issued a desperate appeal to the UN on Friday to save a planet threatened by rich-country-driven climate change that has unfairly hit this poor country in South Asia. Prime Minister.
When UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the country underwater on September 10, he exclaimed that he had “never seen a climate carnage of this magnitude.”
Speaking from the podium of the UN General Assembly on Friday, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stressed that “Pakistan has never seen such an absolute and devastating illustration of the impact of global warming.”
But the Prime Minister, in an enthusiastic speech, added a grim prediction.
– Climate “Disaster” –
He warned the international community that this climate “calamity” due to “monstrous monsoon” rains is just a prelude to what the rest of the world is in store for. “One thing is very clear: what happened in Pakistan will not remain only in Pakistan,” Mr. Sharif said, sometimes angry in his voice and his face covered.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2022. (AFP – Brian R. Smith)
“The very definition of national security has changed today, and unless world leaders come together and act now on a minimum agenda, there will be no Earth to lead it,” the war leader said.
“Nature will strike back, and humanity has no equal in this,” warned the 71-year-old leader, who has been in power in Islamabad since April.
Driven by torrential monsoon rains increased by global warming, experts say the floods have affected a third of Pakistan – the United Kingdom – and have killed nearly 1,600 people since June, according to the latest report.
Homes, businesses, roads, bridges and agricultural crops were destroyed.
– $30 billion loss –
Aerial view of a flooded area in Sukkur in Sindh province of Pakistan on September 9, 2022 (AFP – Aamir QURESHI)
Islamabad has estimated its financial loss at $30 billion and its finance minister, Miftah Ismail, announced on Twitter on Friday that it will seek debt relief from bilateral creditors.
Sandwiched between Afghanistan, Iran, India and China, more than seven million people have been displaced in this country, many living in makeshift camps without mosquito protection, drinking water or toilets.
On the ground in early September, Mr Guterres called on the world’s top polluters to “stop this madness” of further investment in fossil fuels.
Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, who also visited Pakistan this week as an envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said she had “never seen anything like it” and that it should serve as a warning to the rest of the world.
But for Islamabad, the effects of climate are especially unfair for a poor developing country with a population of 220 million and an annual GDP of barely 350 billion (in 2021, according to the World Bank).
– 0.8% of global CO2 emissions –
“Why are my people paying the price for such global warming?” when Pakistan accounts for 0.8% of the world’s CO2 emissions, the prime minister asked. He became angry at “nature (which) unleashed its fury on Pakistan without even looking at our carbon footprint.”
“Pakistan and the Pakistanis did not create this crisis that they (now) are victims of” because of the “industrialization of larger countries,” young Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari added to the press at the UN.
“We don’t do charity, we don’t need weapons or help. But justice for our people and for other countries affected by (violation of) the climate,” said the son of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in 2007 and former President Asif Ali Zardari.
Photographs and maps of Pakistan underwater are displayed in the lobby of the UN Palace in New York. Such a statement is striking: “Today it is Pakistan. Tomorrow it can be any other country!!!!”.