What could be the necessary steps for Bangladesh to tackle the problem of climate change?
By Adnan Tazvir
The Copenhagen Consensus Centre is researching to identify and determine the nature of steps based on Bangladesh’s priorities to ensure the development of climate change.
In addition to economic growth, the company is also emphasizing social, health and environmental development. A popular magazine in Bangladesh is publishing some of these research-based articles on achieving Vision 2021 for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world due to climate change. The country’s people have to face severe natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, tidal surges, Toxic smokes, swells and droughts, and rising sea levels that submerge much of the Gangetic delta of the country.
Global climate change will exacerbate the climate crisis in some regions and further threaten the relatively vulnerable people living in coastal areas. In addition, it is clear that poverty is one of the most significant factors behind creating a risky climate, so we should formulate general policies to reduce poverty.
New research by economists Alexander Golub and Elena Strukova Golub explore solutions to various problems that could help address the short-term or long-term effects of climate change. In the future, climate change could have a massive impact on Bangladesh’s economy.
Coastal areas are most at risk from the effects of floods and other climate change, so they focus on solving problems in these areas.
The first solution they come up with is to save the mangrove famous Sundarbans. Bangladesh can conserve mangroves in the coastal areas and replant trees, which will carbonize the environment and act as a natural shield against cyclones.
The Sundarbans offer some additional benefits, including increasing biodiversity, fish habitat and ecotourism. However, it is costly because the system requires planting mangroves on about 40 km of coastline every year.
Conservation of mangroves in the Sundarbans will require more than Tk.10500.00 crore (Tk.100 crore = Tk.1.00 Billion) over the next 30 years. Besides protecting climate protection and the development of tourism, Tk.2.8 will return on each amount spent on the conservation and rehabilitation of mangroves.
The second proposal is to create preventive measures and build shelters where people can take refuge in the event of a cyclone. Many do not use existing shelters because they cannot afford to keep their livestock and other valuable livestock there, so the proposed structure would provide refuge for both humans and cattle’s.
The coastal region of Bangladesh needs about 530 shelters, but considering each cyclone, these have shown to be quite expensive, with the most devastating cyclones occurring in Kalevadra. The cost of each multi-purpose shelter will be around Tk.7.5 Crore, and in this case, the benefits return will be 1.8 for every spend of money.
The third possible solution is to build dams around the low-lying land areas, which will protect agricultural products, houses and infrastructure from floods.
However, its benefits depend on the type of flood. If the floodwaters flow at a height of more than 3 meters, which is a regular occurrence in some areas, cracks often, appear in the land dams, and it is of no use.
These are also very expensive, and it will cost Bangladesh more than Tk.37200 crore to do these. Where floodwaters exceed a height of more than 3 meters, the cost of building a dam will be more than the benefits available.
A good suggestion is to look at areas where floodwaters flow at a height of fewer than 3 meters, even then enough to cause death and destruction. In these cases, there will a benefit of Tk.1.8 on every amount of spend money.
A universal solution is needed to ensure a prosperous Bangladesh so that its people can better cope with the effects of climate change.
Economists Alexander Golub and Elena Strukova Golub are researching two long-term solutions, usually aimed at boosting economic growth, diversifying the economy, and increasing human capital formation.
The research of these two economists is part of the ‘Bangladesh Priorities’ project, which also looks at many other solutions that help build Bangladesh into a stronger and more prosperous state.
The project, a joint venture between the Copenhagen Consensus Centre and BRAC, employs dozens of top economists from the country, region, and world. The project researches the cost and benefits of more than 70 solutions to determine how Bangladesh can maximize the benefits of every penny spent on its development efforts.
The first of the proposals to address the effects of climate change is to increase the productivity of agricultural workers. It is possible to increase this productivity through investment and training. This will cost about Tk.7 lakh per worker over the next two decades and increase agricultural productivity by up to 10 percent.
In total, every money spent in the next 20 years will give a benefit of Tk.3.6 on every amount of spend. Another option is to shift workers from agriculture to jobs that are more productive by relocating them to cities with factories.
Over the next decade, one million people living in areas not protected by mangroves could be relocated to reduce the damage caused by the cyclone. It will benefit Tk 1.00 lac (Tk.10 lac = Tk.1.00 Million) for every single taka spend. It may require Tk.4 39 lac to invest to train and transfer each person.
However, the increase in productivity and the evacuation of people from dangerous coastal areas will return benefit the welfare of Tk.2.6 per amount of spend.
Dr. Byron Lomburg: President of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre. He is one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Source: The Prothom Alo