Rich nations owe reparations to countries facing climate disaster, says Pakistan minister

Rich polluting countries which are predominantly to blame for the “dystopian” climate breakdown have broken their promises to reduce emissions and help developing countries adapt to global heating, according to Pakistan’s minister for climate change, who said reparations were long overdue.

More than 1,200 people are dead and a third of Pakistan is under floodwater after weeks of unprecedented monsoon rains battered the country – which only weeks earlier had been suffering serious drought.

In an interview with the Guardian, the climate minister, Sherry Rehman, said global emission targets and reparations must be reconsidered, given the accelerated and relentless nature of climate catastrophes hitting countries such as Pakistan.

“Global warming is the existential crisis facing the world and Pakistan is ground zero – yet we have contributed less than 1% to [greenhouse gas] emissions. We all know that the pledges made in multilateral forums have not been fulfilled,” said Rehman, 61, a former journalist, senator and diplomat who previously served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US.

“There is so much loss and damage with so little reparations to countries that contributed so little to the world’s carbon footprint that obviously the bargain made between the global north and global south is not working. We need to be pressing very hard for a reset of the targets because climate change is accelerating much faster than predicted, on the ground, that is very clear.”

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