Is COP 27 a climate justice landmark or empty promises for Pakistan: PBF asks

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Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) says Pakistan which has suffered climate-induced damages in excess of $14.9 billion, needs effective planning to cope with the future challenges posed by global warming.

In a case study looking at the 2022 floods in Pakistan, the Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) Additional Secretary General of the case studies and research unit, Dr. Urwa Elahi said developing nations were justifiably jubilant at the close of COP27 as negotiators from wealthy countries around the world agreed for the first time to establish a dedicated “loss and damage” fund for vulnerable countries harmed by climate change.

No doubt it was an important and hard fought acknowledgment of the damage and of who bears at least some responsibility for the cost but the fund might not materialise in the way that developing countries hope.

In a recently published Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) of the 2022 floods also estimates total damage in excess of US$14.9 billion and total economic losses of around $15.2 billion, a near knock-out blow to economic growth.

Similarly the World Bank Report titled ‘Country Climate and Development’, issued in November 2022, says, “The estimated financial needs for post-floods rehabilitation and reconstruction amount to at least $16.3 billion. And this does not include the much-needed new investments required to support Pakistan’s adaptation to climate change and build resilience to protect the country from future climate shocks.”

As a direct consequence of the floods, the national poverty rate is projected to increase by 3.7-4% points, pushing an additional 8.4-9.1 million people into poverty.

Climate change has placed Pakistan at a crossroad; the country faces the challenge of encompassing the third biggest ice mass in the world and simultaneously, confronting temperatures that are surging sharply as a result of global warming.

PBF Additional Secretary General of the case studies and research unit, Dr. Urwa Elahi further noted that, “Around 30 million people have been affected in Pakistan and the potential damage is consistently on the rise.”

“High temperatures warming the Arabian Sea coupled with the weather warping effects of La Nina brought deadly precipitation in Pakistan, where glacial melt further added to the misery,” she explained.

“It is a sight of misery to see people, livestock and infrastructure drowned under 10 or more feet of water.