Climate change and Bangladesh

It seems now that the perpetrators of climate change have accepted climate change as an inevitability. They want countries like Bangladesh to accept it also as an irreversible or non preventable process . Only they are to be given some assistance in mitigating their woes from climate change. It’s something like the crumbs falling from the tables of the rich to feed the minions.
But Bangladesh can have no stake in so quietly accepting or legitimizing what is tantamount to silent aggression being committed against it. According to various expert estimates, Bangladesh stands to lose as much as 17 per cent of its land territories to the rising sea by as early as 2030. Experts of the US space agency, NASA, predicted the complete disappearance of Bangladesh under sea by the end of the century.
These developments could occur for no fault on the part of Bangladesh. The ones who are to be blamed singularly for earth warming activities and pushing Bangladesh to such climatic havocs, are the rich and developed countries of the world. But they have no rights to do this. What they are doing from unbridled emission of greenhouse gases is tantamount to committing silent aggression against Bangladesh over a long period of time. This is not an aggression with soldiers, tanks and guns. But one that is more sinister in its outcome in the sense that it is endangering partly or completely the physical existence of our country and its people.
Under international law, an aggressing nation or nations ought to first, stop the aggression and, secondly, pay adequate compensation to the victim or victims of aggression. Thus, Bangladesh has every right under international law to demand first of all an end to the aggression. This, in turn, would involve putting the pressure on the rich and developed countries through international forums, the UN and other diplomatic channels, for engaging in fast track negotiations between themselves to arrive at agreements at the soonest to undertake substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions immediately.
There could be a no better way than this for Bangladesh to have ‘preventive’ actions against climate change. If climate change can be prevented from happening, then that would be best for Bangladesh as it would not have to suffer the consequences of climate change in that case.
The other policy for Bangladesh should be getting ‘compensation’ from the countries –who are the major players behind climate change– for whatever harms have been already caused to its environment or are likely to be caused in the future with or without preventive actions. But it appears that a move is on to compound problems for Bangladesh under the guise of helping it out with its climate change related predicaments. Reportedly, a move is on to set up a fund for Bangladesh to cope with climate change.
It would be all right if this fund is formed with appropriate contributions or donations from the developed countries to be spent by Bangladesh without any liabilities as hedges against climate change. But this is not to be because the contemplated $4.0 billion fund which is being set up, the greater part of it or $3.0 billion would be on offer to Bangladesh as a loan to be administered by the World Bank. This means that World Bank would be running consultancies, studies, etc., under this programme —as always– with not much of enduring value accruing to Bangladesh.
The sum of $ 4.0 billion is considered as peanuts compared to the requirement of massive resources that would be needed to set up reasonable defences against climate change in Bangladesh. For example, only for building sea walls or physical barriers against the rising sea Bangladesh would need a far greater sum than the $ 4.0 billion. Whatever works can be done from this loan would be far short of what would be actually necessary to cope with effects of climate change when these start affecting Bangladesh. But Bangladesh would be saddled with an additional big loan burden or the servicing or repaying of this loan over the years.
Acceptance of this offer would mean Bangladesh taking on the obligation of paying back about $4.0 billion to those who have endangered its existence and instead of getting compensation from them for the same, Bangladesh would rather enter into new debts with them for coping with the effects of the sins committed by them. There could not be a more ludicrous arrangement possibly than this.
Thus, it is relevant to ask whether the Bangladesh government should enter into such agreements for increasing the country’s debt burden when the returns from the same are expected to be of dubious value or little value. Government in Bangladesh could rightly invite adverse criticism for signing a deal unfavourable for the country without following a transparent procedure. It would be truly sensible if the government in Bangladesh shows the resolve to demand the formation of an ample or appropriate international fund for Bangladesh to face climate change but with the clear message that such a fund, in all fairness, should be formed from compensation money given to Bangladesh and not as loans.
The other most important doable would be raising a loud enough clamour that the developed countries must get their act together and agree to ample reduction of greenhouse gases–immediately– for effectively treating the problem at its source.


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