Pakistan's Catastrophic Flooding • Fossil-Fueled Beauty • COP27
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After catastrophic monsoon rains flooded nearly a third of Pakistan over several weeks and videos of homes collapsing from the fury of the weather went viral, the country is struggling to keep the world’s fleeting attention focused on its plight. The world loves dramatic images of disaster, but not the tedium of rebuilding.
The staggering scale of the disaster has spurred calls for climate reparations. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, more than 1,000 have been killed, and over 30 million are in desperate need of help, according to humanitarian agencies, IN THESE TIMES reports.
Instead of a proportionate worldwide response, however, some observers are debating the extent to which climate change played a role in the disaster.
They point to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report that states that it has “low confidence” that climate change is to blame for an increase in heavy rainfall in South Asia. However, the IPCC has also stated that extreme rainfall is connected to climate change.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been unequivocal in placing the blame on the fossil-fuel driven warming of the planet. “We have waged war on nature and nature is tracking back and striking back in a devastating way. Today in Pakistan, tomorrow in any of your countries,” he said.
Some also blamed the Pakistani government for failing to prepare for the vulnerability of the country to climate risk after devastating flooding in 2010, when six million people were displaced and nearly 2,000 killed.
“The plans were there,” Pakistan-based journalist Zofeen Ebrahim said on KALW’s YOUR CALL, explaining that those plans had been drawn up to respond to riverine flooding, but not torrential rains. “I think this is not how you plan because catastrophes will come in different shapes and sizes, and we need to be prepared for everything.”
Independent journalists have been documenting the painful recovery and highlighting the struggles of Pakistanis living in camps and attempting to access health services. Siri Chilukuri reports in GAL-DEM that mutual aid organizations have mobilized to assist in evacuating people and providing food and other support. “In some cases, a boat is the only way you can get from one village to another to rescue people,” Tooba Syed, from the Women’s Democratic Front, told Chilukuri.
Welcome, New OptOut Outlets!
We’re excited to announce that two news organizations, GRIST and THE XYLOM, recently joined the OptOut network. Both are dedicated to covering the climate crisis. Here are two recent highlights from their coverage.
Democrats’ backbones appear to be softening when it comes to opposing the Schumer-Manchin side deal to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that would fast-track oil and gas pipeline approval, THE LEVER reports.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said he would oppose it, though the silence from his party is deafening. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has already said he would vote against any spending bill that includes it.
HIGH COUNTRY NEWS reports that the IRA directs $720 million in climate resiliency and energy funding to Native American tribes. But it also incentivizes mining and fossil fuel extraction near tribal lands.
California is experiencing a brutal climate-induced heatwave, with temperatures reaching 110 degrees or higher in some cities. YOUR CALL examines how the state is responding to the needs of vulnerable populations.
HEATED examines the climate impacts of the beauty industry, with its fossil fuel-based products and toxic ideology, in an interview with Jessica DeFino, a beauty industry reporter and critic.
OptOut’s Alex Kotch reveals in EXPOSED BY CMD that many companies that are committed to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles are also bankrolling Republican attorneys general who are working to end corporations' policies that begin to tackle the impacts of climate change.
The Road to COP27
After months of supercharged heat waves, megadroughts, and record deadly flooding in the Global South and beyond, all eyes are increasingly focused on the potential for world leaders to take substantive action on the climate emergency at the UN’s twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties (COP27).
This past weekend, delegates began arriving in Egypt, where COP27 will be held Nov. 17-18 in the tourist city of Sharm El-Sheikh, to begin setting priorities for the negotiations. Top of mind for climate activists is “loss and damage finance,” where a fund would be created to assist countries in offsetting the costs of climate impacts. A similar proposal was quashed at last year’s climate summit in Glasgow.
More than 400 organizations signed onto a letter, announced on Sep. 6 and coordinated by the Climate Action Network, that calls for “Loss and Damage finance” to be added to the formal agenda for COP27.
“Loss and damage finance is a make-or-break issue for the upcoming climate conference in Egypt,” said Harjeet Singh, head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International, in a statement that called out the lethal floods in Pakistan. “The credibility of climate talks hangs by a thread.”
The credibility of the climate summit has already been tarnished after the tepid results of last year’s COP26, which was widely criticized for having produced little tangible action items to stem the pain of the climate emergency. Observers of plans for this year’s summit have also been skeptical of the seriousness of organizers, given that host Egypt is an authoritarian state whose substantial consumption of fossil fuels is only expected to increase in coming years.
In what might be described as a greenwashing campaign, Egypt has launched a series of environmental campaigns ahead of the conference.
Global Climate Strike
September 23, 2022
Join activists around the world in striking against the lack of climate action
Track, report and follow strikes here
NYC Climate Week
September 19-25, New York, NY
November 7-18, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Climate Action Calendar
National Association of Science Writers Conference - #SciWri22
October 21-25, Memphis, Tennessee
Apply for a grant to attend
Text Editor, Climate
The Associated Press
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WE ACT for Environmental Justice (New York City)
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Thanks for reading OptOut’s climate newsletter! If you have questions, tips, or anything else to say about our climate program, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me via Instagram at @xtianpublic.
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