Drive for climate compensation grows after Pakistan's floods


DADU, Pakistan (AP) — Every part of Rajul Noor’s life has been wrecked by this summer’s extreme monsoon-driven floods. The 12-year-old girl’s home is destroyed, as is the school that she loved. The friends she walks to school and plays with are scattered, finding refuge elsewhere.

“Our whole world is underwater, and nobody has helped us,” she said, speaking in the tent where she, her parents, and four siblings now live in Dadu district in Pakistan’s Sindh province.

Almost 100% of the district’s cotton and rice crops were destroyed. More than half its primary and secondary schools were fully or partially affected, local officials say. Boats laden with people crisscross Dadu, past buildings still partially submerged, weeks after the rains stopped. This level of loss is repeated in towns and cities across Pakistan.

The destruction has strengthened the debate over a question of climate justice: Whether rich countries whose emissions have been the main driver of climate change are responsible for the damage that change is inflicting on poor countries like Pakistan.

Pakistan, which contributed only 0.8% to the world’s emissions, now faces damages estimated at more than $30 billion, more than 10% of its GDP. It must replace 2 million damaged or destroyed homes, nearly 24,000 schools, nearly 1,500 health facilities, and 13,000 kilometers (7,800 miles) of roads. Bridges, hotels, dams, and other structures were flooded away.

“These 33 million Pakistanis are paying in the form of their lives and livelihoods for the industrialization of bigger countries,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last month.