Fight for human damage, huge climate costs

Fight for human damage, huge climate costs

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — It was a total loss, the kind often overlooked in big, impersonal statistics, like $40 billion in damage from Pakistan’s floods this summer that submerged a third of the nation.

“We lost everything, our house and our possessions,” said Taj Mai, a mother of seven who is four months pregnant and is in a flood relief camp in Pakistan’s Punjab province. “At least in a camp our children will get food and milk.”

This is the human side of a contentious issue that is likely to dominate climate talks in Egypt this month. It’s about big money, justice, blame and taking responsibility. Extreme weather is getting worse as the world warms, with one study estimating that human-caused climate change increased flood-causing rainfall in Pakistan by up to 50%.

As Pakistan was flooded, six energy companies (ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, Saudi Aramco and Total Energies) made $97.49 billion in profits from July to September. Poorer nations, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, European leaders and US President Joe Biden are calling on fossil fuel companies to pay windfall profits tax. Many want some of that money, along with additional aid from the wealthy nations that dumped most of the heat-trapping gases, to be used to pay countries that have been victims of past pollution, such as Pakistan.

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