The Prime Minister wants the G20 countries to play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions
By Adnan Tazvir
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on the G-20 (Group of Twenty) countries to play a “Key role” in reducing global carbon emissions and called for “strict implementation” of the Paris Agreement to protect the globe from the adverse effects of climate change.
In an earlier statement issued at the inaugural ceremony of the two-days (April 27 & 28) ‘Foreign Policy Virtual Climate Summit’, the Prime Minister also stressed the need for concerted efforts by all countries rid against the deadly Covid-19 virus.
She said climate change is not about staying within certain boundaries. If it emanates from a country, then it affects and threatened the whole globe.
Therefore, each country has to fulfil its responsibilities properly to reduce pollution. However, rich countries, especially the G20 countries, have a crucial role in reducing global carbon emissions.
Sheikh Hasina opined that strict implementation of the Paris Agreement is the only way to prevent global carbon emissions and global warming.
She said the time to take action to save the planet is not tomorrow but today.
The Prime Minister said 100 countries are responsible for only 3.5 per cent of carbon emissions worldwide, and the G20 countries are responsible for 80 per cent.
Sheikh Hasina, however, praised the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement, saying it was good news that the United States had returned to the Paris Agreement. She said, “We also appreciate the decision of US President Joe Biden and the holding of a summit of climate leaders last week,”
The Prime Minister noted that under the Paris Agreement, the international community has pledged to raise 100 billion US$ annually for adaptation and mitigation.
Talking about the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, Sheikh Hasina said the whole world is going through a difficult time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said, “We need united efforts to get rid of the deadly virus,”
Sheikh Hasina said the global temperature is rising, and there is no doubt about it. This increase in temperature is mainly responsible for all diseases. The constant rise in global temperatures is the most urgent concern for the human race.
The Prime Minister said that in the Paris Climate Agreement, the international community has agreed not to allow the global temperature to rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius within this century. However, not enough has been done to prevent greenhouse gas emissions, which is responsible for increasing temperatures.
She said countries like Bangladesh are constantly experiencing various natural calamities like severe floods, droughts, tidal waves, tidal surges, thunderstorms, etc.
Mentioning last year flood that submerged one-third of the country, she said that apart from heavy rains last year, several cyclones, including Super Cyclone Amphan hit Bangladesh; these natural disasters were due to climate change.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is not a carbon-emitting country. Bangladesh and no member state of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is a significant carbon emitter.
“But we are still the most affected by climate change,” she added. Every year our country loses 2% of GDP due to natural disasters due to climate change.
On the Rohingya issue, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh had provided shelter to more than 1.1 million Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds. All these forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals have been sheltered in the environmentally critical area, Cox’s Bazar. However, sheltering them is seriously damaging the ecosystem of the site.
Mentioning that CVF is at the forefront of climate adaptation, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh is the first of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to set up a Climate Change Trust Fund.
Sheikh Hasina said the Bangladesh Parliament had declared the ongoing climate risk a global emergency in 2019.
She added, “We have planned 30 million trees across the country and formulate a ‘Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan’ to achieve low-carbon economic growth.”
“Every year, we spend about 2.5 percent of our GDP, or about 5 billion US$, on various initiatives to build a sustainable climate tolerance response to climate change-related disasters,” she said.
She added, “We have built 12,000 cyclone shelters in the coastal areas and established ‘green belts’ of 200,000 hectares of land.”
Sheikh Hasina said, “We are planting artificial mangroves in the char areas of the coastal districts.” The government is building cyclone tolerant, sustainable housing for the poor in cyclone-prone areas. We are dredging rivers and canals across the country to conserve water and increase the navigability of water bodies.
Highlighting the establishment of the South Asian Regional Office of Global Centre on Adaptation in Dhaka, the Prime Minister said the centre is working on a locally invented adaptation campaign.