The queue that matters – Climate Weekly

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From my temporary workspace on the south bank of the Thames, I can see a queue.

People wait until 2 p.m. to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II. In the age of online scheduling, it would have been easy enough to set up a grieving reservation system, but where’s the sense of occasion in that?

Joining the crowd is an exercise in asserting community identity, at a time of uncertainty and change.

In Pakistan, people are queuing for a more prosaic reason: to accept food aid. Half a million people lost their homes and crops, their self-sufficiency swept away by unusually severe monsoon floods.

An attribution study today confirmed that yes, this is what climate change looks like. Precipitation levels in Sind and Balochistan province were 75% higher than they would have been in a world without 1.2°C warming.

Scientists did not let local decision makers off the hook. Poverty and poor governance put people at risk. Extreme rainfall is expected as global temperatures rise. If Pakistani politicians had learned from the severe floods of 2010, fewer people would have died or been left homeless.

But there is ample evidence to support the climate justice argument that wealthy polluters owe Pakistan reparations.

This week’s stories

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has promised flood victims compensation. At the UN general assembly next week, he will present the bill to leaders of wealthy countries.

To give disaster victims a chance to build back better, they need both international funding and strong accountability to spend it wisely on the ground.

It’s not an easy question. Although from a more comfortable baseline, the middle and lower classes in developed countries are feeling the pressure of inflation. They expect their governments to deal with domestic issues first.

Only the super-rich and, in today’s market, oil and gas producers get richer.

It will take bold leadership to make polluters pay for the solidarity and clean energy transition the situation urgently demands.


The share of South Australia’s electricity consumption generated by wind on Wednesday morning. The state leads the world in renewable energy share and is phasing out backup gas generation.