Industry Desk: British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson yesterdayrecognised Bangladesh’s leadership role in the realm of climate change mitigation and adaptation, and applauded the tremendous achievements of Bangladesh that it will present at COP26.
Addressing a webinar, the High Commissioner highlighted four individual aspects of tackling climate change – coal, cash, cars, and trees. Regarding coal, he stated that Bangladesh’s contribution to emission reduction has been exemplary.
Dickson was impressed by the government’s Mujib climate prosperity plan and believes Bangladesh can achieve a net-zero carbon emission target by 2050.
In light of the COP26, the Centre for Governance Studies arranged the webinar titled “Addressing the
Goals of COP-26 in South Asian Context: Pitfall and Explications” focusing on both the COP26 and current climate issues in Bangladesh and South Asia.
Dr Atiq Rahman, Executive Director, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, Ar Mubasshar Hussain, President, Institute of Architects Bangladesh, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Chief Executive, Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA), Professor Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, Chair, IUCN National Committee in Bangladesh, Architect Iqbal Habib, Member Secretary, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), and Dr Manjur A.Chowdhury, Chairman,Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) spoke at the webinar moderated by Zillur Rahman, Executive Director of CGS.
The British High Commission has been working with the government to form a long-term strategy towards net-zero emission.
Dickson noted Bangladesh’s accelerated efforts to phase out coal and seek out renewable energy sources.
The High Commissioner indicated that neighbouring nations have potential hydroelectric projects in the making that Bangladesh could benefit from as well.
Regarding cash, he admitted that the developed world has not yet delivered on its promises.
Dickson said there will be doubled commitment from developed countries and doubled climate finance over 2021-2025. The High Commissioner also stated that the High Commission is looking for ways to increase private financing towards adaptation and mitigation in Bangladesh. He ended this point by saying that the real money from developed nations will be put on the table during the final weeks leading up to the event.
Regarding cars, the High Commissioner said Bangladesh is still in the early stage of the transition from fossil fuel to electric cars.
He highlighted the benefits of reduced emission and reduced urban pollution from ensuring this shift over the long term.
About trees, the High Commissioner emphasised the unique role of the Sundarbans mangrove forest as part of climate mitigation and adaptation in Bangladesh.
He said the mangrove forest has protected Bangladesh from many natural disasters, and need to be preserved to maintain its role in combating climate change.
The High Commissioner admitted that these are major challenges for the world. However, real progress has already been made and Climate change is now the top issue in the world.
Dr Atiq Rahman stated that even though direct participation will not be possible for many people due to Covid -9, Bangladesh will still bring a pretty big delegation to COP26. He highlighted the pledge of the developed world to provide $100 billion per year to vulnerable nations, which has not yet materialised.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh is spending $10-$20 billion on climate adaptation.
Dr Atiq Rahman concluded by emphasising that the COP has to ensure that the long-term commitments from various members are kept.
Iqbal Habib said there are two motivations at play in combating climate change. “One is to raise funds and mitigate, the second is the adaptation process for individual countries and peoples.”
He emphasized Bangladesh’s need for planned urbanisation and said Bangladesh will inevitably suffer from migration from rural areas into cities due to climate change.
Prof Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir made a vivid description of the plights of the people of Gabura due to the onslaught of natural disasters.
He said there is no substitute for global cooperation and political goodwill and raised the question of whether Glasgow will heed the cries of Gabura.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan said climate change is both a justice issue and an equity issue.
She emphasized the importance of the government to set up a policy of transparency so that funding reaches the people who need it the most.
She also stated that we must ensure that our NDCs are active enough to adequately face the effects of climate change. “We must then go for rigorous implementation of these NDCs.”
She called for higher mitigation standards in Bangladesh and worldwide, stating that the world needs to rethink the model of development as the current one is not sustainable.
She urged Bangladesh to not rely solely on foreign aid and first ensure our capacity for adaptation and mitigation.
Ar Mubasshar said they need to talk about decreasing emissions worldwide before they talk about mitigation and adaptation.
This year, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will be hosted by the United Kingdom in Glasgow.
The slogan of COP26 is Uniting the World to Tackle Climate Change, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation to address climate change.
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