Climate Change


Relevant facts at the international level

  • Bangladesh’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is insignificant, and yet it will be one of the most severely affected countries by climate change. Developed countries who are mainly responsible for causing climate change have not done enough so far towards mitigation and helping developing countries with regard to adaptation.
  • The 15th Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Copenhagen in December 2009 failed to reach binding commitments with regard to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions reduction and has postponed reaching such commitments to the 16th COP to be held in Mexico in December 2010. However, the 15th Conference of Parties (COP) agreed on 2 degree centigrade as the upper limit for rise in the global temperature. The 15th COP has agreed to create a fund of 20 billion dollar over the period 2010-2012 to assist developing countries affected by climate change and to increase this fund to 100 billion dollar by 2020;
  • The Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto protocol provided an opportunity for Bangladesh. International agreements may create global carbon market offering further opportunities for Bangladesh.
  • Survival against climate change is a basic human right for the people of Bangladesh. Being aware that climate change will make poverty reduction more difficult, making it harder for Bangladesh to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal regarding poverty reduction.

BEN’s recommendations for Bangladesh at the international level

  1. Bangladesh should assume the leadership role in the group of the Most Vulnerable Countries (MVC) and also among the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) within the Group of 77 with regard to the climate change issue in the international arena;
  2. Bangladesh has to play an active role in the UNFCCC process and projects effectively the viewpoint of the MVC and LDCs and her own specific views regarding both mitigation and adaptation;
  3. Bangladesh has to demand and secure her legitimate share of the adaptation fund, created by the international community;
  4. Bangladesh should raise the issue of climate refugees and asks the international community to prepare for planned resettlement of climate refugees in safer parts of the world in a planned manner;
  5. Bangladesh should receive the technologies (with accompanying finance) necessary for her to adapt to climate change, in particular to harness her abundant solar energy for meeting her rising energy needs;
  6. Bangladesh has to make effective use of the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol and of the global carbon market that future international agreements may create for her;
  7. Bangladesh should demand setting up of an international research center on adaptation in Dhaka under the auspices of UNEP and UNFCCC.

Relevant Facts at the Regional Level

  • Many consequences of climate change, such as melting of the Himalayan glaciers, submergence of the low lying coastal lands, change in the monsoon cycle, aggravation of floods and draughts, destabilization of rivers, etc. are of regional scope, so that regional response is necessary in order to confront them.
  • Prevention of Himalayan glaciers from melting is crucial for prevention of destabilization of rivers of the subcontinent.
  • Among the countries of the region, Bangladesh is the most vulnerable to the climate change threat and hence require special help and cooperation from others in coping with this threat.
  • Submergence may create a huge problem of “climate refugees” and Bangladesh has very limited space for their resettlement, so that regional cooperation will be necessary to deal with this problem.
  • Pooling of resources can be helpful for all countries of the region in dealing with the common threats posed by climate change.
  • Countries of the region can benefit much from dissemination of information and joint research on climate change;

BEN’s recommendations regarding at the regional level

  1. Bangladesh should advocate regional cooperation in confronting the dangers posed by climate change, noting that such cooperation is necessary both in order to raise unified voice in international forums and in order to take practical adaptation and mitigation steps in the region itself.
  2. Bangladesh should suggest taking up joint projects for coping with common threats posed by climate change.
  3. Bangladesh should advocate for more dissemination of information and coordination of research on climate change among the countries of the region.
  4. Bangladesh needs to draw attention of the countries of the region to the special help and cooperation she will need as the frontline country facing the impact of climate change.
  5. Bangladesh has to draw attention that regional cooperation will be necessary in particular for resettlement of the people who will be rendered climate refugees as a result of possible submergence.
  6. Bangladesh should suggest setting up in Dhaka of a regional center for research on adaptation and mitigation;

Relevant Facts at the National Level

  • Climate change is the gravest long term threat facing Bangladesh. There are many dimensions along which climate change will affect Bangladesh, including submergence, salinity intrusion, river destabilization, extreme weather events, and spread of diseases. Even the part of the country that will escape submergence will be affected by salinity that will intrude deep and wide. The incidence, scope, and intensity of extreme weather events will increase. Climate change will lead to further spread of diseases and epidemics. It will have adverse effects on Bangladesh’s crop output, soil quality, forests, and the overall eco-system. Climate change is likely to make poverty reduction more difficult, aggravate regional inequality, and increase the possibility of civil unrest;
  • A switch from the current “Cordon Approach” to rivers to the “Open Approach” is necessary for Bangladesh to confront three of the five main dimensions of the adverse impact of climate change on Bangladesh, namely submergence, salinity intrusion, and destabilization of rivers.
  • Sedimentation is the greatest protection that deltaic Bangladesh has against rising sea level, and that the Open Approach to rivers in necessary in order to let the process of sedimentation to go on unhindered.
  • Bangladesh has already taken some steps towards adaptation to climate change and that further steps are required to integrate climate change policies with sustainable development strategy.
  • Bangladesh needs to and can do much on its own to adapt to climate change, without waiting for foreign help.
  • Local research is leading to better understanding of the possible impact of climate change on rainfall pattern, cropping pattern, and cyclone intensity.
  • The use of bio-indicator species for measuring and monitoring climate change impact is a proven technique.
  • Research findings of Bangladeshi scientists show that using rice ratooning technology helps to reduce GHG emission from rice fields.
  • Replacement of rice growing by shrimp cultivation in the coastal districts of Bangladesh has led to replacement of green eco-system by white eco-system, increasing the vulnerability to climate change and reducing the adaptive capacity of the local communities.
  • Developed countries are developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies that hold potentiality for Bangladesh too.
  • The youth of the country has a particular role in confronting climate change, which will affect them more than the current generation.
  • Local governments have a particular role in mobilizing and guiding the local level initiatives of the people towards mitigation and adaptation.
  • Just as in developed countries, business companies and industrial enterprises in Bangladesh too have a particular role in mitigation and adaptation.

BEN’s recommendations at the national level

  1. Bangladesh should integrate climate change policies with a sustainable development strategy, in order to benefit from the synergies of the two efforts;
  2. Bangladesh has to build up national capacity for successful engagement in the UNFCCC processes, and in so doing it considers appointing permanent “climate change ambassadors” who will remain in position despite changes in the government;
  3. Bangladesh need to take note and make proper use of the local initiatives of the people to adapt themselves to climate change, and strengthens the local governments to support such initiatives, including those toward afforestation, rain water harvesting, ensuring flood-proof drinking water supply, sanitation, etc;
  4. Bangladesh has to abandon the current Cordon Approach to rivers and adopts the Open Approach in order to counteract submergence, salinity intrusion, and destabilization of rivers and to preserve the process of sedimentation;
  5. Bangladesh needs to promote capacity building and community participation in disaster preparedness, in particular in confronting cyclones in the coastal areas, including construction and management of right type of multi-purpose shelters;
  6. Bangladesh should promote domestic research funded by its own resources on various aspects of the climate change process and uses the findings in formulating policies and taking necessary steps, such as promotion of rice ratooning technology, investment in bio-indicator species, promotion of CCS possibilities;
  7. Bangladesh needs to promote accountability, transparency, and good governance with regard to its climate change related efforts;
  8. Bangladesh has to enlist the country’s youth in the effort against climate change, in particular through educating them about this challenge by including the issue in education curricula, and offering concrete ways in which they can participate in the effort;
  9. Bangladesh needs to encourage its business and industrial to monitor their GHG emissions and take steps to reduce them as much as possible.