Economic Poverty of Bangladesh for Climate Change

Hiren Pandit

Covid-19 has taught us that we must come together to save the world. However, the internal policies of various countries are unable to prevent the global disaster, it has been revealed during the Covid period. So, all countries have to play their role to save future generations from climate change. The past should not be forgotten, how economically prepared is the world to prevent climate change?

For the past several years, various countries have been worried about the world’s climate change. However, to face the challenge of global warming, the economic structure must be changed. Policy changes are needed in many cases. In this climate, the Covid virus has become a snake. The nations of the world have come together in this climate to discuss global warming. Countries are charting a path together to meet this challenge. But this requires a policy change. The pressure on developing countries like India is going to be much higher. Also, there is confusion about the carbon tax that is being considered to reduce carbon emissions. Who will be burdened by this tax? Those who are producing or those who are using them?

The effect of climate change on Bangladesh refers to the detailed analysis of all the temporary or permanent negative and positive effects of global climate change on Bangladesh. The UNFCCC uses global warming to mean human-caused climate change and climate variability to mean climate change caused by other causes. Some organizations call the changes caused by human anthropogenic climate change. However, it is undeniable that global climate change is not only due to natural causes, but also includes man-made causes.

This phenomenon of environmental degradation due to climate change has been identified as a long-term problem in the National Environment Management Action Plan formulated in the 1990s by the Bangladesh Ministry of Forests and Environment of the Government of Bangladesh. Bangladesh alone will be affected by sea level rise, salinity problems, river direction changes due to Himalayan ice melting, floods etc. In addition, the level of natural disasters is also very high. Maldives, Tuvalu, and Tobago not all of these criteria apply. Moreover, the total population of Maldives is less than the population of many districts of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is at the top of the list of victims of climate change.

BUET’s researchers prepared an earthquake area-wise map showing that 43 percent of Bangladesh’s areas are at high risk of earthquakes, 41 percent of areas are at moderate risk and 16 percent of areas are at low risk. Whereas the 1993 earthquake map showed 26 percent high, 38 percent medium, and 36 percent low risk. Bangladesh’s Sylhet region is most at risk due to earthquakes. Bangladesh is one of the countries that are suffering due to these reasons.

The main reason for this is the geographical location of Bangladesh, infrastructural activities and economic dependence on natural resources. The socio-economic development process and economic progress are being disrupted continuously. Although the country’s economy has shifted from agriculture to production-oriented industries, a large part of the economy is covered by the agricultural sector. The country’s economy is still largely dependent on agriculture. Apart from that, agriculture is the biggest sector of employment in Bangladesh. According to the Economic Survey of Bangladesh 2018 data, it provides 40.6 percent of the labor force and contributes 14.10 percent to the country’s GDP. The role of this sector in the overall economy of the country such as employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resource development and food security is undeniable. But as a result of climate change, the backbone of the country’s economy is having an adverse effect on agriculture.

The agricultural sector is one of the sectors that have been directly negatively affected by climate change. Because its productivity is completely dependent on temperature, rainfall, intensity, weather conditions and seasonality etc. Among the main industries of the country are food products, rice, jute, wheat, tea, and mango. Rice is the main crop of Bangladesh. Its production in 2005-06 was 28.8 million tons. Bangladesh is the fourth largest rice-producing country in the world. Paddy and jute are the main crops here though wheat is of greater importance. But climate change has adversely affected this. According to the Agriculture Information Service, rice production in the country is decreasing day by day due to rising temperatures. A temperature of 18-35 degrees Celsius is required for rice cultivation. During winters, the temperature drops below 18 degrees and rises above 35 degrees during summers. This causes many problems in the fertilization of rice and disrupts production.

Rising temperatures are causing sea levels to rise due to the melting of polar ice caps. Agricultural soil salinity is increasing in coastal areas. Crop production is decreasing day by day. According to the researchers, if agricultural land salinity continues to increase, agricultural income will decrease by 21 percent annually and 40 percent of agricultural land in coastal areas will be threatened. There is a risk of displacement of 2 lakh 40 thousand farmers. Apart from paddy, the production of other crops such as jute, wheat and maize is also declining in the country. Its main causes are hailstorms, cyclonic-storm, flash floods etc. It is reducing the per capita income. Apart from this, crop production is also affected due to excessive cold flow in the rabi season.

A large part of Bangladesh’s economy is dependent on fisheries. From employment, and foreign exchange to the medical sector is also heavily dependent on it. About 1 lakh 47 thousand hectares of ponds, 5 thousand 488 hectares of ponds and 11 million hectares of shrimp farms are cultivated in Bangladesh. Apart from this, 250 species of fish live in about 44 lakh 70 thousand hectares of open water bodies (rivers, haors, beels, canals), of which 24 species breed here. These huge fisheries are under threat today due to climate change. If this huge wealth is hit, the country’s economy will collapse.

At the national level, Bangladesh is facing huge financial losses due to the need to tackle climate change. The Delta Plan is an information technology and science-based techno-economic master plan that will require about 2.5 percent of GDP by 2025 to phase in its implementation. To prevent various natural disasters and deal with ongoing disasters, structural and design changes have to be made to the existing infrastructure. For example, redesigning the country’s coastal polders to prevent saline water, repairing and creating new polders, and improving irrigation projects by increasing river water flow and behavioral change. Apart from that, a huge amount of money has to be allocated to the budget every year to repair or rebuild the country’s infrastructural damage due to natural disasters. If the donor organizations refuse to bear these expenses, the Bangladesh government has to meet these expenses from internal revenue. As a result, there is a shortage of money in the domestic market. As a result, other necessary development activities of the government are hindered.

According to IMF sources, about 80 percent of least developed countries and 50 percent of developing countries are at extreme risk of climate change. In this case, apart from Bangladesh, the economy of coastal Cambodia, China, Egypt, Guyana, Suriname, Thailand and Vietnam will also suffer. Along with this, if the temperature rises further, the global economy related to agriculture, forestry, coastal housing system and the tourism sector will also be greatly affected. In addition, almost half of the region of South Asia is under the threat of reduced economic growth in the next few decades. Maldives and Nepal are most at risk in terms of economic losses. The economic losses of the two countries are expected to be 12.6 percent and 9.9 percent by the end of this century. According to this, the loss of Bangladesh is 9.4 percent, which is almost close to Nepal.Bangladesh is suffering the most from the impact of climate change. But Bangladesh is in no way responsible for climate change.

We should forget the rich-poor, north-south distinctions of all the people of the world to make the economy wheels moving and the world habitable for people in the next century. At the same time, we gathered under the flag of the UN to implement the proposals adopted in all environmental conferences including Rio de Janeiro’s Environment Conference 1992, Kyoto Protocol 1997, World Sustainable Conference 2002, and the Paris Climate Agreement 2015.

Due to the frequent occurrence of natural disasters due to climate change, people are losing everything and becoming helpless. The government has to spend a lot of money to rehabilitate them. This is increasing the budget deficit and hampering many important development activities. Many people are leaving their local areas and moving to big cities, especially Dhaka, in search of work.

Due to climate change, natural calamities such as untimely floods, rains, droughts, and flash floods are being inflicted. Apart from this, we ourselves are killing nature by destroying arable land, trees and plants in Hatbazar village development, urbanization, office courts, and construction of homesteads. On the contrary, people are increasing.

The scientists fear, there is no other way to prevent this terrible outcome. As a result, the world temperature will increase by three degrees Celsius by the end of this century. What will happen or can happen then is beyond imagination. But changes in weather and individual actions of nature give some indication of that idea. Night temperatures are lower now than they have been in years. Because of this, the feeling of winter is increasing; Which is not really winter. Again, the temperature will be quite hot during the day. The wind will be hot and there will be rain for a while.

Natural causes naturally impose certain changes in climate. However, human activities are mainly responsible for the increasing degree of variation. Since humans started burning oil, gas and coal to run factories and vehicles or to keep their homes warm in the winter, the Earth’s temperature is now 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than it was at the time. Carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, has increased by 50 percent since the 19th century. It has increased by 12 percent in the last two decades. Deforestation also increases the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Plants store carbon. As a result, when those trees are cut down or burned, the stored carbon is released into the atmosphere.

Climate Change Trust has been established in 2010 to take necessary measures to deal with the adverse effects of climate change in Bangladesh. Its purpose is to use the funds of this trust to address climate change risks as a special area outside the government’s development or non-development budget; b. Adopting and implementing appropriate action plans aimed at implementing special programs related to climate change and ensuring sustainable development.

Hiren Pandit is a columnist
and a researcher.

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