With a population of over 140 million, our beloved motherland is Bangladesh. Economically we are very backward.
The key challenges to our development are achieving food security, ensuring education and medical care for all citizens of the country, and achieving overall economic growth through poverty alleviation. The adverse effects of climate change are and will continue to hamper our development progress.
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world due to climate change. Millions of people in the country have been hit by severe natural disasters such as cyclones, floods, tidal surges, hurricanes and droughts, and rising sea levels will inundate much of the Gangetic delta.
Scientists in the 1980s strongly suggested that the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on human activity were linked to global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions have affected global climate change. From this idea, the conscious community realized the need to take effective action in this regard. The UN General Assembly formed the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) in 1990. INC drafted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and adopted it in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The convention blames the developed world for the emission of greenhouse gases and the need for the developed world to come forward to solve the problem. The convention calls on all industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 2000 compared to 1990. Bangladesh signed the convention in 1992 and ratified it in 1994.
Global climate change will exacerbate the climate crisis in some regions and pose a greater threat to the relatively vulnerable people living in coastal areas. In addition, it is clear that poverty is one of the biggest causes of risky climate change. New research by economists Alexander Golub and Elena Strukova Golub explores solutions to a variety of problems that could help address the short- or long-term effects of climate change. In the future, climate change could have a huge impact on Bangladesh's economy. Coastal areas are most at risk from the effects of floods and other climate change, so they have focused on solving the problems in these areas.
The first solution they offer is to conserve mangroves. Bangladesh can conserve mangroves in the coastal areas as well as replant trees, which will carbonize the environment as well as act as a natural shield against cyclones. Mangroves provide some additional benefits, including increasing biodiversity, fish habitat and ecotourism. But it is very expensive, because this system requires the planting of mangroves on about 40 km of coastline every year. Conservation of mangroves in the Sundarbans will require more than Tk 10,500 crore over the next 30 years. All in all, besides the protection of climate protection and development of tourism, the welfare spent on the conservation and rehabilitation of mangroves will be Tk 2.8 per rupee.
The second proposal is to create precautionary measures and build shelters, where people can take shelter 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 shelter for both humans and cattle. About 530 shelters are needed in the coastal areas of Bangladesh, but considering each cyclone, these have been shown to be quite expensive, with the most devastating cyclones occurring in period. The cost of each multi-purpose shelter will be around Tk 7.5 crore and the expenditure will be Tk 1.8 crore.
The third possible solution is to build a dam around the low-lying land, which will protect agricultural land, houses and infrastructure from floods. However, its benefits depend on the type of flood. If the flood waters flow at a height of more than 3 meters, which happens regularly in some areas, cracks in the land dams often get caught and it is of no use. These are also very expensive and it will cost Bangladesh more than Tk 36,200 crore to do these. Where flood waters 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 flood waters flow at a height of less than 3 meters, even then which is enough to cause death and destruction. In these cases, a benefit of Tk 1.8 will be available for every Tk.
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.
In fact, 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 Center and BRAC, employs dozens of top economists from the country, the region and around the world.
The cell is also working to build the capacity of various government agencies, especially the Department of Environment and the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The cell has also undertaken various research activities and modeling activities on climate change. Hopefully, there will be opportunities to raise money from various international sources to tackle climate change.
Ultimately, it can be said without hesitation that our own allocations or the possibility of international funding are inadequate compared to the huge adaptive action that Bangladesh needs to take due to climate change. Our climate change adaptation activities must be integrated with our overall development planning and development activities.
The writer is student, Environmental Science and Engineering, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]