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The USA Should Pay for Pakistan’s Climate Floods – Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

According to Wikipedia, since 1952 Pakistan has received 22 IMF bailouts, substantially funded by the USA. But apparently the USA is still liable for climate reparations.

Pakistan floods revive a debate: Should U.S. pay for climate disasters?

Even as Pakistan turns to donors around the world asking aid to cope with deadly and costly flooding, many politicians and activists demand the United States and others compensate poor nations for global warming damages 

By Shannon Osaka
August 29, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. EDT

Since mid-June, torrential rain has changed the landscape of Pakistan, submerging villages and fields, destroying homes and killing at least 1,000 people. But if the human toll is catastrophic, the financial toll is almost unimaginable: According to Pakistan’s finance minister, the damage so far will likely exceed $10 billion, or a whopping 4 percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product.

“Pakistan was already facing the disastrous effects of climate change,” Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister of climate change, said at a news conference on Thursday. “Now the most devastating monsoon rains in a decade are causing incessant destruction across the country.”

But even as Pakistan turns to donors around the world asking for aid, there is one thing that the country will almost certainly not receive: Compensation from the countries — including the United States — thatare most responsible for planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the key issues is liability. U.S. delegates fear that if a formal loss-and-damage fund is created, the United States could open itself up to litigation from poorer countries. “We always remain thoughtful about the issue of liability,” John F. Kerry, the U.S. international climate envoy, said during the Glasgow summit.

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On the bright side it is good to read that for once John Kerry resisted handing over large sums of US taxpayer’s money.

But the question – should Pakistan receive climate change aid, or any further aid?

One of the main reasons Pakistan is so bankrupt, aside from their eyewatering corruption, is they spend crazy amounts of money funding a large military and a nuclear weapons programme.

They also likely give large sums to America’s enemies. Pakistan’a security service helped set up the Taliban, but according to some sources Pakistan continues to maintain high level links. The Taliban might have begun as a US supported resistance movement against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan – but in my opinion the Taliban have long outlived their value to Western interests.

Any international aid money Pakistan receives, regardless of what excuse is given for handing over the cash, there is a real risk most of it will be stolen, and much of the remainder will be split between funding their excessive military, and supporting America’s enemies. Very little if any, in my opinion, would reach the destitute people who could actually use some help.

I think most of us can think of better uses for US taxpayer’s money, than funding Pakistans’s corrupt elites, and funding their hostile geopolitical games.

If despite this you still want to help, and believe even if only pennies in the dollar get through it is still worth sending aid to Pakistan flood victims, I recommend you read African economic expert James Shikwati’s Der Spiegel interview “For God’s Sake, Please Stop the Aid!“. The corrupt kleptocrats who are the real principals of ordinary people’s suffering, having wrecked their own nation’s economy, utterly depend on outside aid money to survive.

Sending money for whatever reason just perpetuates the misery, and impedes the development of a more functional, responsive Pakistani government. In my opinion, the suffering of ordinary people is a fundraising theatrical prop to the people who currently run Pakistan. None of the previous 22 IMF bailouts and who knows what other handouts helped improve the lives of ordinary Pakistanis. Why would yet another handout, whether it be a climate reparation or flood relief or another IMF bailout, produce a different outcome to all the previous handouts?

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