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Mahadi Hasan Badhon
Bangladesh urgently needs to take effective steps to cope with climate change, an acute threat to development and efforts to end poverty.
“Bangladesh has already started experiencing the impact of climate change. Its seasons now don’t follow their set phases. Blossoming of Kadam flowers during winter is nothing but an impact of climate change,” Ainun Nishat, an expert on climate change told Bangladesh Post on Thursday.
Replying to a query he said, the trend of tidal surges and cyclonic storms is increasing gradually in comparison to that in previous times.
“It is the deadly sign of the impact of climate change,” Ainun Nishat, also professor emeritus of BRAC University said, adding, if effective steps are not taken to cope with climate change, the situation will take a serious turn.
However, he said if the world community does not come forward according to the Paris Agreement, it will not be possible to keep world temperature at 1.5 degrees warmer by 2030 to 2050.
“A law will have to be enacted for proper implementation of the Paris Agreement. Otherwise, all steps taken by the world community will go in vain, and developed countries will emit carbon causing serious impact on the environment”, said Ainun Nishat.
Another expert on climate change, Dr Monjurul Hannan said, “World’s developed countries emit carbon which increases global warming, and the third world countries like Bangladesh face serious impact for this warming.”
“As Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in addition to being a disaster prone country, we have to create a national mechanism to face climate change effect in which the ministry of disaster management can play the major role,” he said.
According to a recent report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists said, “Today, the world is 0.8 to 1.2 degree centigrade warmer than pre-industrial levels. There is a 50 percent chance to keep this temperature below 1.5 degree centigrade and a 66 percent chance to keep it below two degrees centigrade.”
The country is still at risk as its average annual temperatures are expected to rise by 1.0°C to 1.5°C by 2050. If no measures are taken, the country’s average temperatures are predicted to increase by 1.0°C to 2.5°C, according to the World Bank Report.
This could cost Bangladesh 6.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product and depress the living standards of more than three-quarters of the country’s population by 2050, it said.
The recent WB report also says, “More than 80 percent of the population is potentially exposed to floods, earthquakes and droughts, and more than 70 percent to cyclones. On an average, the country experiences severe tropical cyclones every three years, and about 25 percent of the land mass is inundated with flood waters every year. Severe flooding occurs every 4-5 years and covers 60 percent of the land.
WB report also added that Dhaka is the most at-risk cities in the world with its high population density and rapid urbanization, located in an area of valuable assets that are also extremely vulnerable to earthquakes.
According to the study titled “Assessing the costs of climate change and adaptation in South Asia” conducted by the Asian Development Bank, The projected temperature changes of Bangladesh for the three periods are: 2030, 0.9°C–1.9°C; 2050, 1.6°C–2.5°C; and 2080, 2.9°C–4.2°C.”
The Asian Development Bank study report said that Economy of Bangladesh is more at risk to climate change than any country. If the world community does not change the current behavior, the country might lose around 2 percent of its GDP by 2050. Since two-thirds of the country is less than 15 feet above sea level, a three-foot rise in sea level would submerge almost 20 percent of the entire country, reducing cultivatable land and potentially displacing 35 million people by 2050.
The report also predicted that climate change could have devastating impacts on water resources and agriculture; rice production could decline by 8 percent and wheat by 32 percent, creating a very high risk of hunger.