US a key partner in combating climate crisis in Bangladesh
John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, arrived in Dhaka yesterday morning following a four-day visit to India. The purpose of this visit is to convey President Joe Biden's commitment to move forward 'aggressively' to deal with the global climate crisis. Meanwhile, the US president has invited 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to the "Leaders' Summit on Climate"--scheduled to be held on April 22-23 virtually.
Unquestionably, the visit of a high profile US envoy for climate issue carries special significance for Bangladesh. Due to its geographical features, Bangladesh is considered 'especially' vulnerable to climate change. According to some indicators, the country ranks among the top ten countries in the world those are affected by extreme weather events. While climate change is causing some natural disasters more frequently than before, their frequencies are also increasing. One-third of the population of the country is at risk of displacement because of rising sea levels. Change in the rainfall pattern, increasing flood, river erosion, salinity, droughts, storms, heat waves and cyclones, and shifts in seasonal patterns are the dire consequences Bangladesh faces--due to climate change.
However, recognizing the problems, Bangladesh has become one of the most active countries in terms of planning and action in this regard. The government adopted several measures in recent years to promote climate change related investments. Moreover, it has adopted a fiscal framework designed to channel more resources towards climate change adaptation. Simultaneously, new environmental guidelines are also being introduced to promote green financing, foster green banking and establish funds. The country is highly active in seeking funds from developed countries in order to tackle climate issues of vulnerable countries.
Truly, Bangladesh alone cannot achieve its climate related goals due to lack of funds and scientific knowhow-here the USA can contribute significantly by financing and offering technical support. Waste management, river side embankments, water treatment, carbon emission, salinity reduction, coastal zone management, sustainable industry, environmental forecasting etc are the potential sectors of US cooperation and investment.
Primarily, Bangladesh should prepare financially against the impact of natural disasters by adopting special budget and using insurance mechanisms to support extensive coverage. Authorities must come forward in order to foster climate friendly investments. Taxing pollution, incentivizing green products, enhancing the business environment to attract foreign investors who promote the use of clean technologies are some of the prospective areas.
Lastly, Bangladesh needs support promised by the industrial countries in the fight against adverse consequences of climate change. We hope that the upcoming virtual summit will emphasize the economic benefits of a stronger climate action plan and actions.