Although the power production capacity of the country is expected to increase by 63% after 19 ongoing coal and LNG-based projects are completed, yearly carbon emission will also rise by 115 million tonnes, says a recent report by the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
"Bangladesh is essentially moving towards becoming one of highest carbon emitting countries in Asia, which is contradictory with the government's national and global stance on reducing carbon emission," TIB program manager Md Mahfuzul Haque said while presenting the keynote paper in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
The report was presented with the civil society organisation's recommendations on the matter during the media call ahead of the COP26 Climate Change Conference.
For the Rampal, Matarbari, Bashbari and other projects, coal will be imported via sea and river routes. As a result, there is a risk of negative impact on aquatic biodiversity, including river water pollution, Mahfuzul said.
"By occupying the Payra River and the beach at Kalapara in Patuakhali, the coal project will endanger the Andharmanik River and the 40km wide Hilsa sanctuary and breeding ground on the Ramnabad Channel," he cautioned.
Coal power projects and risky industries are being set up near the Sundarbans, ignoring global and national concerns and without environmental surveys. As a result, the Sundarbans has been included in the list of endangered World Heritage Sites by the World Heritage Committee.
Pollution from eight coal projects planned in Chattogram and Cox's Bazar could kill 30,000 people in 30 years and 14,000 people could die due to pollution from the coal project at Matarbari in Cox's Bazar. The country's largest tourist spot and its surrounding environment will be severely damaged, the TIB report finds.
As a result of climate change, 11% of Bangladesh's coastal landmass is in danger of being submerged. The risk of hurricanes of four and five levels will also increase by 130%.
In contrast with the target to generate 10% of the country's electricity from renewable sources by 2020, currently only 730 MW is generated per day, which is only 3.48% of the total generation capacity.
Although the affected countries were promised $100 billion in compensation every year from 2020, the developed countries are failing to do so.
Despite approving $368 million for six projects in Bangladesh, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) released $28.6 million by October 2021, which is 7.77% of the total allocation.
TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, "COP-26 Climate Change Conference is considered as the next most important climate conference after the Paris deal. The prime minister is the President of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). So, we have a chance to play a role here and do something."
For consideration at the conference, he recommended that the unethical interference of fossil energy companies in climate policy-making be stopped and that the $100 billion annually be provided to developed countries as promised.
"The climate fund, including the GCF, needs to provide compensation as grant not debt, and set up a separate fund for damages," he said.
In addition, to ensure the transparency and accountability of developed countries in all mitigation activities, including Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), to achieve the 'Net Zero' target by 2050, and to provide adequate climate funding, technology to developed countries to produce 100% fuel from renewable sources by 2050.
He recommended raising the issue in a coordinated manner.
On the role of the government, he said the proposed Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan (IEPMP) should have a clear roadmap with emphasis on strategic renewable energy and short-term, medium-term and long-term planning for the sector to increase renewable energy production in Bangladesh.