As climate disasters grow more costly, who should pay the bill?
At the U.N.’s annual climate conference, climate justice is finally on the table. Powerful new science is helping make the case.
First came a record-shattering, months-long heat wave, roiling Pakistan from March to May. Just a few weeks later came months of crushing, punishing rains that flooded a third of the entire country. The floods’ economic costs were staggering—about $40 billion, or more than 10 percent of the country’s annual GDP.
But these are not “natural” disasters. Just weeks after the catastrophes began in 2022, scientists showed a clear culprit: human-caused climate change, which intensified the rains by up to 75 percent and made the heat wave 30 times more likely.
To Pakistan’s leaders, those findings highlight a long-simmering frustration. “We are responsible for less than one percent of the emissions that lead to climate change,” M. Tariq Irfan,