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15 January, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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COP21 and Bangladesh: Between problems and prospects

Bangladesh is already known for its vulnerability where poverty and high population density on the coastal zones will make the scenario beyond imagination in near future according to concerned experts
Md. Habibur Rahman
COP21 and Bangladesh: Between problems 
and prospects

The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December 2015. Simultaneously, it was the eleventh session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP11) to the Kyoto Protocol. The COP21 was the biggest international conference ever in the history where 195 nations/parties and the European Union participated.
After a two-week long discussion, the participating countries agreed to the final global agreement, called the “Paris Agreement”, to reduce their carbon output as soon as possible and to do their best to keep global warming to well below 2°C. For the first time in history, the agreement brought all countries to a public commitment to limit and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change. “The Paris Agreement is a bridge between today's policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century”—stated by the European Commission. However, the agreement will become legally binding only if 55 countries that produce at least 55 percent of the world's GHG emissions ratify the agreement, and adopt it within their own legal systems within 21 April 2017.
Bangladesh’s concern
Bangladesh is already known for its vulnerability where poverty and high population density on the coastal zones will make the scenario beyond imagination in near future according to concerned experts.
Although the Paris Agreement is very tricky and weak to some extent, Bangladesh similar to other LDCs has welcomed the Paris Agreement in a sceptic manner whereas a former NASA scientist and a key figure behind the global climate change awareness, Professor James Hansen, said,  “not the perfect deal but it's the best deal”. “No action, just promises” – criticised by about the agreement.
The problem with this agreement is that there is no mandate exactly how much each country must reduce its GHG (green house gas) emissions than many would like. The Article 9 of the agreement had set a new collective and quantified goal from a floor of $100 billion per year until 2025. However, financial mechanism including channelling financial resources and catalysing private climate finance for mitigation and adaptation is not clear. From the previous experiences in climate financing, pledged fund by the developed nations has not been provided yet. The agreement outlines that each countries would require to financially contribute according to their capacities. This is undoubtedly a serious concern for Bangladesh as the country is advocating for the fund it receives in the category of Green Climate Fund for grant consideration instead of soft loan from the developed countries.
The Article 8 of the agreement, furthermore, has given the importance on the issue by putting it in a separate article but it totally failed to settle on financial mechanism and institutional support to address climate change induced displacement, migration, and planned relocation. Moreover, it does not include or provide any provision of compensation and liabilities for developing countries to loss and damage.
Article 5 of the agreement stated that all countries should take action to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of GHGs including forests, but none of this is legally binding to save the forests unlike the agreement reached in 1992 earth summit. Thus, it is clearly confusing about the concept of sustainable forest management in developing countries like Bangladesh. On the other hand, the agreement includes a package of REDD+ (UN’s reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) elements — including results-based payments —which is a very encouraging signal for Bangladesh as the country already prepared its ‘REDD+ Readiness Roadmap’ and submitted the ‘Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP)’ to the UN-REDD Programme. Surprisingly, the agreement set an obligation for all countries – both developed and developing – and to reduce GHG. It remains to be seen how Bangladesh would cut its low emission while maintaining its high ambition for growth within this framework. The agreement has no provision of conformity for permanent compensation from the GHG emitters. Positively, the agreement create an opportunity for Bangladesh for mobilising global partnerships to address climate change by increasing responsibilities and capabilities as well as by innovating new technologies. Despite these shortcomings, the Paris Agreement can lead the country to invest and adopt in green technology and renewable energy to increase low-carbon emission economy to move towards as a prosperous and model resilience country in the world to the impacts of climate change.

The writer is a research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Social Research (BISR) Trust

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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