Essay by Eric Worrall
Climate Reparations Required? According to the World Economic Forum, the Sukkur Barrage, a British built diversion dam which unexpectedly withstood the recent floods and saved lives, despite decades of neglect, is a scar of Pakistan’s colonial past.
What does colonialism have to do with climate change?
Sep 9, 2022
Digital Editor, Strategic Intelligence, World Economic Forum
Data Visuals and Content Specialist, Strategic Intelligence, World Economic Forum
Flooding in Pakistan has revived interest in the relationship between the colonial past and the present climate crisis.
When flooding amplified by climate change began to submerge nearly a third of Pakistan recently, a remnant of the country’s colonial past stood between the deluge and hundreds of thousands of people: the Sukkur Barrage.
It wasn’t certain that the 90-year-old diversion dam, a onetime engineering triumph designed by local British rulers but since cited for safety issues and described as “decrepit”, would endure – making it a potentially fatal burden and a symbol of the corrosive impact of colonialism on much of the world.
The dam held, despite Pakistan’s “monsoon on steroids”. Other outcomes have been less fortunate. A German non-profit’s list of the 10 countries most affected by climate change-related extreme weather events during the first two decades of this century includes eight former colonies (one isn’t technically a country, and remains a US territory sometimes described as a colony).
One means of addressing the disparity might be through reparations.
Given the dam was built 90 years ago, and it has been 75 years since the fall of the British Raj, I suggest it is probably time for the Pakistan government to pick up the tab for flood management and do their own dam building and repairs.
via Watts Up With That?
September 11, 2022