KARACHI - As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree.
In Karachi, for example, residents such as Aamir Rizvi remember last summer's suffocating heat wave, which caused more than 1,300 deaths.
"I had stepped out to buy some groceries from a store that must not have been more than 25 steps or so from my house,” he said. “I came back with some stuff and, the moment I made it back into the house, I couldn't feel my legs. Then my arms got numb, and my heart started sinking."
Many of the thousands of victims were brought to Karachi's Jinnah Hospital, where Dr. Seemi Jamali is head of the emergency department.
"Suddenly, huge numbers of patients with heat stroke or with heat emergency started pouring in,” she said. “No warning of any kind was given for us to expect such a severe heat wave. Within 4 days, there were at least 10,000 patients that were brought to us."
Intensity expected to ramp up
Meteorologists believe the heat wave was a result of the increase in global warming. They expect both summers and winters to become more intense.
Government officials say Pakistan and other developing nations should be given support in dealing with climate change and, at the very least, developed nations must agree to cut down their own greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.
"We expect that these developed nations will put some restrictions or constraints on their own emissions,” said Arif Ahmed Khan, the Pakistani Ministry of Climate Change. “And then they must also support developing nations like us, financially, in the transfer of technology, as well as in capacity building."