Multilateral cooperation crucial for tackling the climate crisis

-By Lal Mia

Over the last several decades, one of the most important issues has been the global climate problem. Globally, climate change is having a significant impact on biodiversity, livelihoods, and human life. The frequency and severity of floods, landslides, storms, droughts, heat waves, and cold spells are increasing, resulting in severe food and water scarcity, the homelessness of millions of people, an increase in health risks and fatalities, and a grave danger to biodiversity.

Global climate change is mostly affecting coastal populations and island nations, with South Asian countries being particularly susceptible to its effects. Several factors make South Asian nations more susceptible to climate change, but their geographic position is what ultimately adds to their responsibilities. The increase in sea level, cyclonic activity, variations in air temperature, and altered precipitation patterns are the direct and indirect effects of the growing climate catastrophe that people in these regions are facing.

Bangladesh’s low-lying delta plain terrain makes it vulnerable to cyclones, storm surges, riverine floods, and droughts, posing a danger to people with many climate hazards even if the country’s global emissions are just 0.56%. Bangladesh, which has been battling the consequences of climate change for decades, is listed as the sixth most disaster-prone nation in the world by the German Watches Climate Risk Index (CRI) assessment. The nation had 185 instances of severe weather between 2000 and 2019, which cost $3.72 billion in total. A 2018 USAID assessment estimates that 143 million people, or 89% of Bangladeshis, reside in “high” or “very high” climate exposure zones.

With a predicted 19.6-inch increase in sea level, it is predicted that the nation will lose 11% of its territory by 2050, forcing one in seven Bangladeshis to leave their homes. According to many statistics, by 2050, sea level rise alone would probably compel over 18 million people to relocate.

Salinization contaminates agricultural land, endangers the drinking water supplies of residents in coastal areas, and reduces the capacity of crops to absorb water, which inhibits crop development. Consuming polluted and salty water exposes residents in coastal locations to health concerns.

Wetland ecosystems and biodiversity are negatively impacted by the climate crisis, which results in habitat destruction and the loss or relocation of key carp breeding sites in the Halda River, Chittagong. It creates difficulties with water quality in wetlands, sanitises rice fields, freshwater aquaculture facilities, and aquifers, and speeds up the loss of tourist and recreational businesses as a result of biodiversity loss. It also speeds up the destruction of habitats for Royal Bengal Tigers in the Sundarbans.

Bangladesh, a nation most in danger from the climate problem, has spent the past fifteen years developing several action plans to allay worries about the changing environment. Notable action plans that support increased climate resilience include the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP, 2009), Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan, the updated Standing Order on Disaster (2019), and the updated National Environment Policy (2018). In the meanwhile, the adaptation action plans have shown several other strategies for surviving in the face of the climate disaster in addition to somewhat alleviating the suffering of the people impacted by the climate.

But to guarantee sustainable adaptation, quick and efficient climate adaptation strategies must be addressed together with increased climate money from committed nations and international organisations. The introduction of comprehensive climate adaptation measures, including strategies, policies, and actions to address the negative effects of climate change on economies, societies, and ecosystems, should be prioritised in order to promote sustainable development, minimise vulnerabilities, and strengthen resilience in the face of an increasingly urgent climate crisis.

(The author is an associate professor at the ‘Department of Political Science’ at Mashuddi Razia College in Tangail Bangladesh)