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Conflict reduces the ability to react to climate change

Published : Sunday, 9 December, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 257

Pensioners left on their own during a heat wave in industrialised countries, single mothers in rural areas and workers who spend most of their days outdoors. Slum dwellers are left in the megacities of the developing world. These are some of the vulnerable groups who will feel the brunt of climate change as its effects become more pronounced in the coming decades, according to a game-changing report from the UN's climate panel. Climate change is occurring on all continents and in the oceans, the authors say, driving heat waves and other weather-related disasters. And the changes to the Earth's climate are fuelling violent conflicts. The UN for the first time in this report has designated climate change a threat to human security.

Extreme weather events continue to wreak havoc on our country, which was recently ranked 7th on a list of countries vulnerable to such cataclysmic changes in climate. With the 24th iteration of the Conference of Parties in full swing in Katowice, it is imperative that Bangladesh takes a major role in the conversation, because, it is we, after all, who pay the greatest price for global climate change.  It is doubly tragic that the nations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are the ones which are low income or lower middle income -- this means that, all too often, they do not have the resources required to cope.  Thousands of people have already been killed, with millions losing their livelihoods and being forcefully displaced as a result of flash floods, heavy rainfall, and collapsed buildings, and the situation will only get worse in the future.

Considering the fact that it is the developed nations who have, throughout history, contributed most to the greenhouse gas emissions, it is their responsibility too to ensure that developing nations receive the funding required to battle the effects of these extreme weather events. According to some estimates, this fight could cost somewhere in the region of a $100 billion to $200 billion and, without the world working together in this regard, there is no chance of survival in the future. It is only through coordination and cooperation that the world can survive climate change, and there is no time to waste.

The conflicts are also on a different scale: food riots and unrest triggered by spiralling prices; clashes between farmers and herders of livestock over land and water; competing demands on water for irrigation or for cities.  And it could set back efforts to deal with climate change. Conflict itself actually reduces the ability of places to react to climate change. 

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