The climate talks


The Gabura Union, a small island bordering the Sundarbans forest, is expected to be submerged in seawater by 2050. Credit: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
  • by Mohammad Rakibul Hasan – and AI artificial intelligence (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
  • Inter Press Service

Another major impediment to progress on climate change is the need for more political will among country leaders. In some cases, leaders may not see climate change as a priority or may be reluctant to take on the economic and political costs of reducing emissions or investing in clean energy for political reasons. Some countries may be influenced by powerful fossil fuel lobbies pushing against climate action. Developed countries must be prepared to take on greater emissions reductions and provide financial assistance to developing countries to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change. Developing countries, in turn, must be prepared to take emission reduction measures and invest in clean energy and other climate-mitigating measures. This can be done through more effective multilateral negotiations such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where all countries agree to set emission reduction targets and support developing countries.

Bangladesh lies in the low-lying delta region of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers, making the country particularly susceptible to flooding and rising sea levels. Bangladesh is also prone to cyclones and other extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. The country has a long coastline, much of which is low-lying and prone to flooding. As sea levels continue to rise, the risk of coastal flooding is increasing, with devastating consequences for the lives and livelihoods of the people in these areas. These events are causing widespread damage to homes and infrastructure and impacting the country’s agricultural sector, an important source of income for many people in Bangladesh. Many people in the coastal areas have lost their homes and livelihoods due to sea level rise and coastal flooding. They face food and water insecurity due to increased soil and water salinity.

Rich countries worldwide can help Bangladesh deal with climate change in several ways. A crucial way is by providing financial support to help the country adapt to the impacts of climate change. This may include funding to build seawalls and other flood protection infrastructure and programs to help people in coastal areas relocate to higher elevations. Another way rich countries can help is by providing technical assistance to Bangladesh in developing and implementing clean energy and other climate mitigation measures. This could include funding and expertise to help the country develop renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, as well as improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions from the industrial and transport sectors.

The forests of Sundarbans, located in the coastal zone of Bangladesh, are one of the most vulnerable areas in the country to the impacts of climate change. The forests cover more than 10,000 square kilometers and are home to various plant and animal species, including the Bengal tiger. Sea level rise is one of the major threats to the Sundarbans forest, making it particularly susceptible to flooding and rising sea levels. Sea levels in the Bay of Bengal will rise by up to 1 meter by the end of the century, according to a study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This would devastate Sundarban’s forests as seawater would submerge large areas.

The impacts of climate change on Sundarban’s forests are also likely to have knock-on effects on the people living in the surrounding areas. The forests are an important source of income for many people in the region, who depend on them for fishing, farming and other activities. As the forests are damaged by sea level rise and extreme weather events, these people will also be affected by food and water insecurity and the loss of their homes and livelihoods. Many people who lost their homes and land to flooding were forced to move to higher ground.

The health effects of climate change on people living around the Sundarban are also significant. Due to rising sea levels and increasing flooding, many are at risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. Extreme weather events are accelerating salinity levels in Bangladesh’s coastal strip. Women experience uterine cancer, infertility and skin diseases, and men also experience fertility problems and other health problems. Due to the loss of livelihoods and displacement, many people face food insecurity and malnutrition. In addition to these immediate consequences, climate change exacerbates existing social and economic inequalities in the region. People living in poverty and marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by climate change, as they have fewer resources to cope with the impacts and less access to services and support.

Climate change has led a growing number of people to migrate from these areas in search of better opportunities and to escape the impacts of climate change. Most climate migrants from coastal areas of Bangladesh move to urban areas, such as the capital Dhaka and other major cities. These migrants often look for better job opportunities and access to services and support. However, many migrants face challenges in their new locations, such as a lack of affordable housing, discrimination and limited access to services and support. The future is uncertain for those still living in Bangladesh’s coastal areas battling the climate crisis. Many of the people living in these areas belong to the country’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities, making them particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Every year, global climate talks are held by world leaders and major organizations. But they need to understand the seriousness of the situation for the suffering people and take concrete actions beyond being in a room to talk about the impacts of climate change.

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© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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