Climate Falsification: Pakistan Flooding and Media’s Hype

By Vijay Jayaraj

Recurrent floods in Pakistan that cause widespread property damage have been used by mainstream media as a propaganda tool to shift blame from poor urban planning to purported anthropogenic climate change.

Research indicates that excessive flooding is not a recent occurrence brought on by human activity; rather, it is a normal occurrence whose effects have recently been amplified by unplanned urbanization and inadequate water drainage systems.

Floods: A Regular Event in Pakistan

Pakistan’s vast floodplains are shaped by the Indus River and its tributaries, which are a lifeline for the agriculture of millions of people as well as a cause of disastrous floods. The Indus arises in Himalayan Tibet, flowing more than 1,900 miles through China, Pakistan and India to the Arabian Sea.

Because of its monsoon-driven climate and flat terrain, the Indus River Basin has historically experienced yearly flooding. Data show that “northern provinces are most affected by floods when heavy summer monsoon rainfall and glacial melt trigger flooding in the upper tributaries of the Indus basin.”

Floods have been very common in Pakistan. During the period from 1947–2013, a severe flood hit the country, on average, every four years, according to researchers. Other research reveals that an “exceptionally high number of fatalities occurred in the years 1950, 1965 and 2010.”

The publication Dawn reports Pakistan’s “first recorded super flood was witnessed in 1950. … In 1973 alone 259,586 acres of crops were affected in eight districts.” Around 10,000 people died in the 1965 floods.

Contextualizing Recent Damages from Flooding

In recent decades, unplanned development, lack of natural and artificial water drainage systems has caused many fatalities and financial losses. This is especially true with river Swat in the country’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Zartaj Chaudhary of Pakistan Today notes that “the growing city sprawl has led to encroachment on banks and rivers, ultimately causing urban flooding. Poor planning in urban areas leaves little to no room for water to move after high rains. The housing societies and businessmen have been illegally developing societies, buildings, and hotels, as seen along the banks of the Swat River … the hotels and residential structures that were illegally built limited the river’s route, which in turn restricted the rivers’ and streams’ flow.”

In response to deadly 2022 floods, other experts expressed similar views. There is a “proliferation of water mafias, illegal and unregulated construction, and poor urban and rural planning,” says a 2022 report titled “Why Pakistan is Drowning.”

The report’s authors say that “large hotels and entire communities were built alongside rivers — in many cases locations that were impacted by the 2010 floods. Instead of learning the lessons from 2010, these structures were allowed to be built. The fault lies with not just the construction companies or communities, but also with the local governments that did not monitor or regulate this illegal activity.”

Larger Picture

While much of the media obsesses over a fabricated climate crisis, many reporters largely ignore the fact that climate-related deaths worldwide have decreased drastically in recent decades.

A peer-reviewed scientific paper published in Elsevier journal shows that, “global death risk from extreme weather has declined 99% over 100 years and global costs have declined 26% over the last 28 years.”

However, the media uses Pakistan’s flooding to perpetuate the erroneous belief that climate-driven extreme weather events are claiming more lives than ever before.

The media are not the only offenders. Even in academic journals, the usage of the term “climate emergency” has increased exponentially. But as earth scientist Dr. Matthew Wielicki puts it: “We don’t have a climate emergency problem. But we do have a new cultural paradigm where academic journals and the MSM reward scientific hyperbole.”

As for Pakistan’s flooding, better urban planning and flood-prevention measures would be far more effective solutions than forced adoption of wind and solar energy as a hysterical response to warm weather.

This commentary was first published at BizPac Review on November 24, 2023.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK.

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