Dhaka Courier

Climate Change: The breaktroughs we need

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Hundreds of schoolchildren take part in a climate protest in Hong Kong Friday. So-called ‘school strikes’ were planned in more than 100 countries and territories, including the U.S., to protest governments’ failure to act against global warming. Photo: AP/UNB

Climate Change generally refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. Today we are facing globally the crisis of the changing environment and the changing climate. Climate change threatens world peace, economy, basic security, coping capacity, housing, food, water, energy, lively hood, human life and the natural balance of the almost all Eco system.  Hence, adaptation to climate change, protection of environment and its conservation has become world wide issues of concern and awareness. Climate change in Bangladesh is not a theory, a story it’s a way of life. Organizational aspects of Disaster preparedness and the Community Based Adaptation (CBA)-approach of Bangladesh have been acclaimed through out the world. The country is learning to tackle the adverse effects of climate change. Now we have effective adaptation system. But a gap between policy formulation and enforcement of environmental regulations is a common characteristic.

Greenhouse Effect is causing global warming and resulting in climate change. The problems coming out from climate change can be effectively faced only when the phenomenon is perceived, analyzed and its causes are pinpointed. Mankind created climate change and as such the monster is now out of control, either we take it down, or die at its hands. The choice is ours.

The country has prepared a roadmap for a comprehensive National Adaptation Plan (NAP), with the aim of facilitating the integration of climate change adaptation into national policies, development planning processes and strategies. In addition a handful Practices have been introduced sectoraly, with the efforts from local communities, government and NGOs. These include climate legislation, climate change strategy and action plan, climate change trust and resilience fund. To tackle the effects of climate change Parliament has passed a motion on 14 Nov, /19 declaring a “planetary emergency” and calling for quick action by the international community, including the United Nations. The motion will play an important role on Bangladesh politics and diplomacy.

Impacts of Climate Change in Bangladesh

Climate change occurs mainly through changes in hydrological cycle, which is the key factor for biodiversity, water scarcity, Arsenic contamination, livelihood and ecosystems.

Due to global warming the country is facing natural disasters like heat stress, heavier and more erratic rainfall, water logging,  and wide spread prolong flooding., cyclone, earthquake, tidal- bore,  land slides (in hilly region),  increased salinity in the coastal belts and drought in the northern parts.

The problem of climate refugees is emerging due to sea level rise and river bank erosion. The refugees are putting enormous pressure on the urban economy, infrastructure and basic services.  Scientists estimate that 30- 45 cm sea level rise will dislocate abut 35 million people from coastal districts by 2050.

The agro sector is increasingly becoming vulnerable to climate change causing food insecurity and occupational dislocation.

Environmental factors account for as much as 22% of the national burden of water borne disease in the form of respiratory infections and diarrhea. Incidence of Dengue and other animal borne diseases and pest outbreaks are likely to increase. It also causes malnutrition and under nutrition.

Climate change will severely affect Bangladesh’s transport sector in the future raising the costs of operation, maintenance, repair and rehabilitation.

Recommendations

Bangladesh: Climate strategies demand new leadership with scientific perspective. The recommended strategies focus on the climate change problems turning to climate resilient low carbon activities; towards a greener development pathway and homegrown green technology.

Education, training and campaign for awareness raising on climate change impacts, for concerned officials, first responders and members of vulnerable communities, should be arranged by concerned authorities and national volunteer groups at the field levels.

All the modern methods should be used in forecasting and dissemination of cyclone forecast and for this metrological department needs to be streamlined.

Installation and proper functioning of Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) by mills and factories.

The development of renewable energy and installation of solar energy and biogas plants should be supported and encouraged. Adaptation to climate change must be linked to national development, planning and practices.

Best way for Bangladesh to protect and preserve environment, is to exert all out efforts in harmonizing role of government, NGOs and donors and to reduce the population drastically in a controlled way for the next century.

In tune with the national framework on disaster management, local government institutions should lead the coordination and implementation of disaster risk reduction activities.

Proper Implementation of Policy and Projects: Major policy thrust would be needed for strengthening the coping mechanism of the poor, through enhancement of community resilience and empowerment.

Permanent concrete residential structures should be built for the inhabitant of costal area, so that their houses serve as cyclone shelters.

Massive reforestation programs to reduce CO2, and afforestation to trap sediments along the river banks and embankments should be undertaken.

The Climate Trustee Board should invest a part of this fund towards construction of cross dams and tackling salinity and drinking water problem in the coastal belt.

Government efforts to cope with impacts of climate change and river bank erosion must be complemening to mitigation discourse there by making it a choice rather than force.

We need to take massive program to prevent water pollution and to get pollution free water, steps to be   under taken to conserve and restore water bodies.

Indiscriminate extraction of groundwater will have to be done away. Using options like preserving rain water and simple devices for desalinizing water. Beside these Community Care Focused Projects could be undertaken for fresh water.

Nature Based Solutions (NBS)- (Nature-based solutions are interventions which use nature and the natural functions of healthy ecosystems to tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our time.) To reduce the climate impacts we have to take financial institutions and share technology for adaptation. A new bottom up approach is needed to implement Nation Based Solution solutions to get viable results.

The oceans have an enormous capacity to absorb CO2. Sustainable governance of the ocean should be achieved at any cost.

We have to intensify monitoring in the Chttagram Hill Tracts region for maintaining ecological balance. Sundarban can play an important role in mitigating the impacts of natural disasters. .Hence, Sundarbans' ecosystem needs rest and this is why controlling deforestation and regulating tourist’s activities is a must.

According to Ban Ki Moon, “Action of Climate change remains a major piece of unfinished business.” We are to understand that the world is at the verge of ruin and this is why all countries should reduce production of green house gases, and gradually it should come down to zero. At the moment this will be treated as Climate Justice.  We need strong governance systems to move the climate discourse and actions forward. Individuals and communities should play important roles to face climate change impacts. Bangladesh must be fastening the international good will that exists now. The future we want can be ours- if we act now. Our conscious choice of preserving the environment to day, will lead to better and sustainable future. So that we can contribute towards leaving a beautiful planet, as a legacy to future generations.

M. Shamsul Islam, Former Deputy Director Bangladesh Rural Development Institute(BRDTI) Sylhet. E mail: shamsulislam.brdb@gmail.com

  • Climate Change: The breaktroughs we need
  • Bangladesh
  • Climate Change
  • Vol 36
  • Issue 32
  • M. Shamsul Islam
  • DhakaCourier

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