Monday, July 6, 2020 | ePaper

Climate Change

Its Adverse Impact On Bangladesh

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Saleh Akram :
Climate change has assumed global proportions. The ubiquitous impacts of climate change are noticeable all over and across the world. Climate experts and international bodies have voiced repeated alarms against the devastating impacts of changing climate. One of the major aspects of climate change is global warming which denotes a long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system. However, to be more precise and accurate, global warming means the increase in global surface temperatures caused mostly by human activities. There had been prehistoric periods of global warming and unprecedented changes were observed since the mid-20th century. In view of its terrifying influence it should better be called climate crisis rather than climate change.
According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for monitoring and evaluating the phenomenon of climate change, increasing global greenhouse emissions or carbon pollution must be brought down to half in the next 10 years to avoid a catastrophic, irreversible damage to our planet. In 2017 and 2018, carbon emissions increased globally by 1.7 percent and 2.7 percent compared to year before. And the year 2019 is expected to have one of the highest rates of increase on record.
With worrying rise in carbon emissions and lack of preventive actions thereof, the global temperature is likely to rise further in varying degrees in different parts of the world. Countries with widespread poverty will be most affected. Reports reveal that Haiti, Nigeria, UAE, Yemen, Philippines and Kiribati will be the worst affected victims of climate crisis. Another five countries under threat are China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. 93 million people of China followed by 36 million in India, 31 millions in Vietnam, 23 millions in Indonesia and 12 millions in Thailand are likely to be affected.
Regarding the impending dangers of climate change in Bangladesh the US based non-profit research organization 'Climate Central' in its recent report has revealed that 42 million people in Bangladesh will be victims of coastal flooding by 2050 and the number may reach 57 millions. British science journal 'Nature' published another report wherein it was forecast that climate change affected victims worldwide will be three times more than what was originally perceived.
Two thirds of climate change victims are from Asian countries. A map was created by using artificial intelligence technology called 'Mural Network' shows that some coastal cities of South and South East Asia will be submerged under water during tidal surge and people in those cities will find themselves living in flood affected areas. Again according to the latest IPCC report published in October 2019, sea level will further rise by two metres by the end of the present century. It is therefore imperative that our city structures and economies of coastal cities will have to be designed on changed circumstances.
As climate change is actually global warming due to rising temperature around the world caused mainly by arrogant attitude of the people against nature, UNFCCC which is an environment related global agreement of the UN has therefore recommended that affected countries should set its objectives on reducing and stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions to a point which will not be dangerous for human environment.
According to recorded history, world temperature both at land and sea level increased during 1860-1900 by 0.75 degree centigrade or 1.4 degree Fahrenheit. Temperature on earth increased at twice the speed of sea level temperature rise from 1979 and 2005 was the warmest year and highest temperature recorded in that year was higher than 1998 which was till then the highest in history.
IPCC in its Fifth Assessment Report observed that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming since the mid-20th century and the largest human influence has been the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Climate model projections summarized in the report indicated that during the 21st century the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 0.3 to 1.7 °C (0.5 to 3.1 °F) in a moderate scenario, or as much as 2.6 to 4.8 °C (4.7 to 8.6 °F) in an extreme scenario, depending on the rate of future greenhouse gas emissions and on climate feedback effects. These findings have been recognized by the national science academies of the major industrialized nations and are not disputed by any scientific body of national or international standing.
The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era ?  and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth's orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives. Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010. 2016 was the warmest year on record and eight of the 12 months of the year ? from January to September, with the exception of June ? were the warmest on record.  
The oceans on the other hand have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of more than 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969. Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades of the century, however, is nearly double of similar periods of the last century and is accelerating slightly every year.
It is important for us to identify reasons behind increasing global warming. If those mentioned above are the factors responsible for global warming vis-à-vis climate change, solutions thereof can also be sought easily. Things to be done are: 1. We need to create consciousness and be proactive; 2. Smoke emissions of mills and factories are to be reduced; 3. Use of machinery that emit CFC and use of fossil energy will have to be reduced; 4. Deforestation will have to be stopped; 5. Programmes for tree plantation and forestation will have to be strengthened; 6. Use of solar energy will have to be increased; 7. New sources of renewable energies are to be explored; 8. Carbon tax is to be imposed if needed; 9. Harmful activities towards nature are to be stopped; and 10. International cooperation to address climate crisis should be further stepped up.
Bangladesh is exposed to multiple categories of climate-induced hazards including variations in temperature, excessive and erratic rainfall, water logging, flooding, cyclones, and heat and cold waves. These hazards are negatively affecting our national life and coupled with problems of population density, poverty, rural-urban migration, illiteracy, unplanned urbanization and lack of public utilities and services may further aggravate the situation. It is therefore imperative that we strengthen our efforts to address climate induced vulnerabilities for sustainable journey towards stability and progress.
(Saleh Akram, a TV personality; e-mail: saleh.akram26@gmail.com)

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