PM seeks world help to address climate-change challenges

The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, sought technological and financial supports from the international community, particularly resourceful developed countries, to combat the challenges of climate change as Bangladesh is considered one of the worst sufferers for the climatic disorders for no fault of its own.
Addressing the World Climate Conference-3 Thursday at Geneva International Conference Centre, she explained to the world leadership Bangladesh’s vulnerability to the climate change and apprised them of her government’s plans, programmes and strategies for protecting the country’s people from the disastrous impacts of the global warming caused by excessive carbon emissions.
Earlier on her arrival at the CICG at 9:15am (local time), the World Meteorological Organisation secretary general, Michel Jarraud, received the Bangladesh leader. Foreign minister Dipu Moni, state minister for forest and environment Hasan Mahmud, foreign secretary Mijarul Quayes, ambassador M Ziauddin, PM’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad and permanent representative to Geneva Mission Abdul Hannan were present.
‘I came here with deep concerns of our people, who no sooner had tasted democracy than confronted with critical, dire impacts of climate change, a worried prime minister of Bangladesh told her audience at the UN-sponsored WCC-3 meet.
 She observed that through the decades since independence, whatever progress the nation could achieve is being eroded by repeated and increasing vagaries of nature.  ‘There is no doubt that human-induced climate change is, to a large extent, responsible for these phenomena and, ironically, the people of Bangladesh are least to be blamed for them,’ Hasina said.
She said tackling the formidable challenges facing Bangladesh due to the climate change calls for help of the international community.  To substantiate her call for international aid, the prime minister informed the conference that Bangladesh is among the countries severely affected by climate change, and estimates indicate that 20 million Bangladeshis would require relocation due to climate-change impacts by 2050.
A one-metre rise of sea level would inundate a third of Bangladesh, and this would result in mass migration northwards, imposing increasing pressure on land and resources and loss livelihood of about 40 million people, the prime minister said.
Hasina further pointed out that the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction has ranked Bangladesh as the most vulnerable country to floods, third-most to tsunami and sixth-most to cyclones, in terms of human exposure.  At present, Bangladesh is experiencing erratic patterns of flooding and droughts, and these have also become a threat to ensuring food security, through sustained agricultural production.
 She said cyclones hit the coastal region regularly, causing tragic loss of innumerable lives and immense material damage. Besides, Bangladesh also faces riverbank erosion, landslides, soil degradation and deforestation.  An alarming phenomenon is salinity intrusion into the coastal areas, threatening the Sundarban, world’s largest mangrove forest—a habitat of rich biodiversity and UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site.
‘The challenge to Bangladesh in facing natural disasters from global warming and climate change is monumental,’ she told the global meet on the most worrying problem that threatens the planet as a whole.  Hasina continued: Bangladesh, due to its geographical location, has faced natural disasters and, therefore, invested over $10 billion since its independence on flood-management schemes, coastal polders, cyclone and flood shelters, and elevation of roads and highways above flood level.
Recently, she said, the government of Bangladesh has established a Climate Change Fund, with its own resources, to expand community-based disaster preparedness, and adaptation programmes.  Bangladesh is eager to collaborate with world community in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, financing, investment, and transfer of technology for facing these new threats on mankind, she said.

Source: The Daily New Age, 04 September 2009

World headed for climate abyss: UN chief
Agence France-Presse . Geneva

The world is accelerating towards a climate catastrophe, the UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, warned on Thursday, urging rapid progress in talks to cut emissions and tackle global warming.   ‘Our foot is stuck on the accelerator and we are heading towards an abyss,’ the UN secretary general said in a speech to the World Climate Conference.
   Ban, who this week visited the Arctic to witness first hand the changes wrought by global warming, warned that many of the ‘more distant scenarios’ predicted by scientists were ‘happening now.’
   ‘Scientists have been accused for years of scaremongering. But the real scaremongers are those who say we cannot afford climate action — that it will hold back economic growth,’ he said.
   ‘They are wrong. Climate change could spell widespread disaster,’ Ban warned.
   The UN leader pinned his hopes of a breakthrough on a summit of world leaders in New York this month to discuss climate change.
   Talks on extending the Kyoto protocol on emissions cuts in time for December’s Copenhagen conference had been too limited and slow, he said.
   ‘We have 15 negotiating days left until Copenhagen. We cannot afford limited progress. We need rapid progress,’ he added, criticising ‘inertia’ towards climate change.
   The UN chief warned that the price of failure in Copenhagen would be high ‘not just for future generations, but for this generation.’
   Ban later reiterated that a pledge by the Group of 8 industrialised countries this summer for a long-term 80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050 was not sufficient.
   ‘I continue to believe that they should have a mid-term target, I’m going to continue on that with the G8 and G20 (leading economies),’ he told journalists.
   The UN secretary general has carried out several climate-related visits since he took the helm of the world body, including to Antarctica. He also saw advancing deserts in Chad and the diminishing Amazonian rainforest in Brazil.
   Visibly sobered by his Arctic visit, he warned that rising sea levels, partly generated by melting ice in the polar region, would threaten major cities and potentially up to 130 million people.
   Climate change was also triggering a rush for natural resources in the Arctic as sea passages opened up, he warned.

Source: The Daily New Age, 04 September 2009

India carbon emmissions to triple by 2030


Agence France-Presse . New Delhi

India’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are expected to nearly triple in the next two decades, but will still remain below the current global average, a government-backed report said.
   The data released late on Wednesday showed the current per capita rate at around 1.2 tonnes per year, compared to the global average of 4.22 tonnes.
   Five different studies released by independent institutions concluded that India’s per capita emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent would reach 2.1 tonnes in 2020 and 3.5 tonnes in 2030.
   India’s per capita output is one of the lowest globally, but given its massive population it is one of the top polluters in the world.
   Speaking at the launch, the environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, said the data would help to inform debate at global climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.
   ‘India should be seen to be part of the solution,’ he said.
   But Ramesh cautioned that the numbers were ‘open to peer review’ and that the government did not agree with all of them.
   The studies found that India’s total emissions are estimated to reach between four billion and 7.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2031.
   India has long rejected binding carbon emission targets on the grounds that they would hinder economic growth and development.
   More than 180 nations are due to negotiate an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty in Copenhagen in December.
   Ramesh reiterated a promise by the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, that India’s per capita emissions would never exceed those of developed nations, but credited energy efficiency options rather than mitigation strategies for the projections.

Source: The Daily New Age, 04 September 2009 


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