Although the main objective of the Biden Summit on Climate Change, to be held later this month with 40 heads of state and government, is to strengthen markets and investment, there will be an opportunity to raise the voices of marginalised people affected by climate change, experts said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"When one wants to expand the market for their products, they have to create a global lobby. Surrounding the climate issues, there is a huge market for products worldwide," said M Shamsuddoha, executive director at the Center for Participatory Research and Development (CPRD).
He was speaking at the virtual press conference titled "Biden2People" organised by the Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED) to draw the attention of the prime minister for raising various issues at the Biden Conference to be held on April 22-23.
John Kerry, Joe Biden's special envoy on climate, will arrive in Dhaka on April 9 to invite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the conference. The Biden Summit is seen as crucial ahead of the climate conference in November.
Shamsuddoha said, "All international summits create scope for investment. (They) create the field of how to strengthen the market and investment. In this too, pressure has to be created so that the activities can be made as pro-environmental as possible. "
Professor Dr Maruful Islam, of the development studies at the Dhaka University said, "There is no reason to assume that this initiative has been taken for the greater good of the world. Biden has taken this initiative for his own political and business reasons.
"Still, it is an opportunity. Bangladesh should seize this opportunity. We want to convey the voice of the ordinary, backward people to the prime minister. So that she can convey our message to the world leaders at the conference," he said.
Hasan Mehedi, member secretary of BWGED, said the US companies account for 80% of all fossil fuel-related investments, and the country alone accounts for 15% of the world's total carbon emissions.
"Developed countries have not paid the promised amount for the affected countries like Bangladesh to cope with the impact of climate change. They have tried to create market mechanisms. They are talking about insurance instead of compensation for loss and damage," he added.
It should be noted that the Paris Climate Agreement stated that global warming should be limited between one-and-a-half to two degrees from the pre-industrialisation period. At the same time, the developed countries were to deposit $100 billion a year in the Global Climate Fund to compensate for the damage caused by carbon emissions during industrialisation. From which the affected countries can spend on adaptation and mitigation.
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (Bela), said, "Mitigation should be the first priority in dealing with climate change. Those who are responsible for bringing the climate to this state should fix the climate by reducing the carbon emissions themselves. We don't want to see any activity that raises the temperature and increases the greenhouse gas. This demand must be raised."
"To establish global accountability, both the donors and the recipients must work together to ensure that the money is used for the benefit of those who receive it. We can't even save those who are supposed to be saved if we get money (due to lack of good governance)," she added.
BWGED's 6-point demand at the Biden Conference
Hasan Mehedi, member secretary of BWGED, presented the keynote address at the press conference. At this time, he raised six demands which will be forwarded to the US administration through the US Embassy.
The demands are that the $100 billion pledged by the developed countries to the Global Climate Fund (GCF) every year from 2020 should be paid.
The United States should provide a clear outline on the amount of carbon it will reduce in its own country and abroad through its companies.
The government and private financial institutions and banks of the United States must stop investing in fossil fuels inside the country and abroad. If they want to keep global temperatures in the range of one-and-a-half degrees from the pre-industrial times, they must stop investing in fossil fuels.
Investment in coal and fossil fuel companies in the US capital market must stop. The four largest companies in the world are in the US capital market.
Technology supply companies in the United States should not sell technology for fossil fuel-related power generation. And the United States should play a leading role in the transition to new green energy, which has begun worldwide.
Moderated by Sheikh Rukn, founder of Riverine People, Zannatul Maowa, executive director of Bindu Women Development Organization, also spoke at the programme.