Nowhere is the climate crisis more pressing or more potentially catastrophic than Bangladesh, for the simple fact that nowhere else do we see a greater swathe of humanity under threat from its worst effects.
According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, by 2050, with a projected 50 cm rise in sea level, Bangladesh may lose approximately 11% of its land, affecting an estimated 15 million people living in its low-lying coastal region.
It isn’t something the country brought upon itself. As a late comer to industrialisation, the country’s contribution to anthropogenic climate change, for which the Industrial Revolution that started in 19th-century Britain was a catalyst, has actually been minimal.
That is why as the current chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group of 48 countries that are most disproportionately affected by the consequences of global warming, it is working hard for a fair and equitable deal to be reached at the next UN-led conference on the issue (COP26), set to be held in Glasgow in December.
Experts have long bemoaned the fact that the wealthier, industrialised countries – the ones who have historically contributed the most to the depletion of the ozone layer – still put up a reluctant front when it comes to taking responsibility now for addressing the problem.
“Bangladesh has been hit hard with extreme weather caused by climate change for years. Climate change is a global phenomenon that needs a global solution through collective efforts,” noted climate expert Dr Ainun Nishat on the occasion of World News Day.
Dr Nishat said they have been talking about climate finance for several decades for combating climate change impacts, but sufficient funds have not been allocated globally.
“It’s necessary to sensitise global leaders regarding climate financing and keep their commitment to reducing carbon emission. The upcoming COP-26 Summit will create an opportunity to do this,” he said.
World News Day is being observed in Bangladesh as elsewhere across the world today (Tuesday), highlighting the critical importance of credible journalism in providing trustworthy information about the climate crisis.
Environment experts said about 700,000 people in Bangladesh become refugees every year due to the natural disasters which are said to be intensifying with climate change.
They point out that per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emission in Bangladesh is 0.46 tonne per year while it is about 10 to 15 tonnes per year in the developed countries.
Alongside reducing carbon emissions, the analysts said developed nations must help Bangladesh with mitigation and adaptation efforts, necessary funds, resources and technology to prepare it for the inevitable losses of lives, livelihoods, habitable land, and the resulting human migration.