Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Climate Change and Bangladesh - Victim of Global Warming Or Victim of Global Politics?

People may say a lot of things but to me the main disadvantage of being one of the members of a LDS (Least Developed Nation) is that no one really cares about whether we exist or not. I never would have said something like this if it were not for the results of the last conference on climate change. I am talking about the COP (Conference of Parties) 15 that happened in Copenhagen last year. Something similar to the following was supposed to happen: 1) The developed countries would take responsibilities for their actions and compensate for that accordingly, 2) The Most Vulnerable Countries (MVC) would get enough financial and technical support to enhance and develop their adaptation processes, 3) A legally binding accord would be created which would limit the carbon emission amount for the developed countries and the G77+China group, 4) The accord would also ensure that the MVCs would get continuous support in the future to battle the climate change impacts. Unfortunately we all know what happened, very disappointing indeed but that is the current reality.

It is the month of March and already we feel the heat burning our skins. I live in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. That day I had to go to Jahangirnagar University from Uttara on a chore, and after all of a sudden I realized that something does not feel right; the scorching sun was behaving in somewhat of an unusual way. I told myself that this was not supposed to be like this, at least not at this time of the year. The heat was unusual and already intolerable. Is it because of Global Warming? Should be! Then I wondered how it would feel during the summer time, a very scary thought indeed!

I believe many international negotiations are going on in many different parts of the world. Speculations have been done about how much monetary support a country like Bangladesh should be getting. I agree to the fact that funding is necessary for Bangladesh to tackle the adverse climate change effects; necessary embankment building, infrastructure development, and a lot of researches need to be done. It is being forecasted that a 1m sea level rise will inundate one third of the land in Bangladesh, the entire Sundarban will be under water, imagine that! So, I understand the necessity of the funds that the developed countries should provide for us.

What I don't understand is that when we get the funds do we, as a country keep our mouths shut and let those who pollute, pollute some more?! Shouldn't we be raising our voice against those who are causing this dreadful climate change! Apparently Bangladesh is the Ground Zero for Global Warming induced calamity. So as a victim, Bangladesh should show objection against the developed countries and urge them to reduce their carbon emission by a significant amount. People have doubts about the time predictions, but everyone is agreeing to the fact that climate change has already started and is happening. Therefore, if nothing is done immediately to mitigate the situation then countries like Bangladesh will have no future regardless of the funds it gets.

Bangladesh faces a lot of frightening consequences because of global climate change. Among the most startling are agricultural devastation, deterioration of health and increasing number of deadly diseases, millions of climate refugees, economic downfall, and even national security issues. Imagine a situation where millions of people after losing everything they owned, moving towards the cities for a better life. Majority of these people would be either farmers or fishermen; skills which are useless in urban settings. Consequently they would be getting involved in either begging or they would be taking a more drastic measure and start mugging. Let's say, 1% of those millions of helpless people decide to commit crimes; imagine the effects! That is a scary thought indeed and we should be ready for something like it if we do not act now. Bangladesh requires a lot of funds to prepare as much as possible to face the consequences of global warming. But it also has to raise its voice against those who are actually responsible for this completely unwanted dreadful situation. The developed countries must agree to a legally binding agreement to reduce its carbon emission, and they must do so within a very short time.

"With great powers come great responsibilities" - which is very true, and the industrialized nations should realize it themselves instead of simply making movies about it. No matter how much prepared a country like ours is, climate change will eventually take its toll if the developed nations do not do something immediately; they need to reduce carbon emission and they need to do it quickly. Bangladesh definitely requires the immense funding to prepare itself for which it has absolutely no fault whatsoever; but it also needs to urge the governments of the developed countries to do what is right and reduce the pollution.

I am a final year student of North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. I love to express my opinions and my ideas through writings. It is a pleasure for me if my articles are read and appreciated for their usefulness. I am also a part of the AUTUMN foundation.

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