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Climate change in Bangladesh by City Tech Blogger Sayad Shaon

According to UNFCCC (2001), “Climate change in IPCC usage refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. It refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity”. Basically, climate change is the shift of worldwide weather due to natural changes but mostly from human negligence.

Like most other countries and regions in the world, my home country is also affected by climate change. My home country is Bangladesh which is situated in the south Asia region. Due to the geographical location, low-lying landscape, excessive population, lack of awareness and many other reasons, Bangladesh is one of the more vulnerable countries to suffer from climate change. Bangladesh is often affected by many climate changes, especially, high temperature, flood, sea-level rise, heavy monsoon downpours, cyclones, and storm surges. Ahmed, A. U. (July 2006) mentions, “Bangladesh’s high vulnerability to climate change is due to a number of hydro-geological and socio-economic factors that include: (a) its geographical location in South Asia; (b) its flat deltaic topography with very low elevation; (c) its extreme climate variability that is governed by monsoon and which results in acute water distribution over space and time; (d) its high population density and poverty incidence; and (e) its majority of population being dependent on crop agriculture which is highly influenced by climate variability and change”.

As I lived in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, for a long time I experienced the effect of the climate change in many ways. Firstly, high temperature is most common in Bangladesh as the country experiences 2-3 month of winter which is also mostly warm. Also, heavy monsoon downpours are always accompanied with a flood, though it occurs in the countryside, but has an effect on every way of the national life. The biggest threats or risks that Bangladesh is facing are heat waves or high temperature, floods, sea-level rise, cyclones and storm surges. According to Huq, S. (Ed.). (23 nov 2001), “Bangladesh is one of the country’s most likely to suffer adverse impacts from anthropogenic climate change. Threats include sea level rise (approximately a fifth of the country consists of low-lying coastal zones within 1 meter of the high water mark), droughts, floods, and cyclones (approximately 130,000 people were killed in the cyclone of April 1990)”. The country is facing, and experts predict that it will continue to face the effects of these climate threats for a long period of time. The World Bank (December, 2011) stated, “Climate change will likely increase the exposure of densely populated, low-lying areas to intensified flooding and cyclones. Since 1954, Bangladesh experienced 21 above-normal floods, 4 of which were exceptional and 2 catastrophic”. “The scientific consensus for the GBM basin is a projected temperature rise of 1-30C and 20 percent more monsoon rainfall by 2050, suggesting that Bangladesh will be exposed to more severe inland flooding. The country is also a global hotspot for tropical cyclones” (The World Bank, December, 2011).

The Paris Agreement is one of the biggest steps to overcome the adverse effects of climate change in the world. According to United Nation Climate change, (2015, July 3), “The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so”. United Nation Climate change, (2015, July 3), also added that, “The Paris Agreement central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius”. Bangladesh is also a part of the Paris Agreement which takes measures according to its plan on the agreement to reduce the threat caused by climate change. Not only does Bangladesh mention several steps but they’ve also fulfilled some of them to reduce the adverse effects of climate change. Renewable energy, like solar and wind, became one of the important ways to reduce the effect of climate change. Huq, S. (2017, December 12) mentioned, “There is a growing shift away from investing in fossil fuels such as coal, and into renewable energy like solar and wind”. Along with that green growth and green finance has become a popular trend to create awareness among mass population and many other steps taking by both private and government organizations to reduce the effect of climate change. “At the same time a recent study of Green Finance and Green Growth potential in Bangladesh by the UK based Adam Smith International highlighted the potential of Bangladesh” (Huq, S. 2017, December 12). Climate change has drastic effects on the Bangladesh origin, especially, in geographic regions and some of the sectors. “The country has already begun to feel the effects of the climate change as flood periods have become longer and the cyclones, droughts and earthquakes that hit the country cause greater devastation and adversely affecting the country’s agriculture and land, and challenging water resources, occupational dislocations, food, health, energy and urban planning”. (Mahmood, S. A. 27 October, 2011). The agriculture sector is affected by the floods, along with the high temperature and monsoon rain, causing fertility problems and food shortage.

Climate change is creating natural hazards, resulting in cyclones, sea-level rise, river erosion, and floods, which is often causing displacement in the geographic areas of Bangladesh. “28 percent of the population of Bangladesh lives in the coastal regions of the country, due to Bangladesh’s unique geographical position, is especially vulnerable to natural hazards. Natural hazards in the coastal regions have already led to significant loss of homes and lands resulting in displacement for many individuals and communities” (Displacement solution, May 2012). “Displacement due to riverbank erosion is quite severe in different areas such as Sirajgonj, Jamalpur and Gaibandha where people have lost their houses, agricultural land and local level small industries in the face of erosion”. (Patwary, O. H. December 2016).

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