In 2023, a year marked by a surge in the adverse effects of climate change, panic ensues as the frequency of disasters resulting from extreme weather becomes more common, exacerbating their impact annually.
It is imperative for world leaders to awaken to the urgency of the situation and expedite measures to reduce carbon emissions. The upcoming Conference of Parties 28 (COP28), scheduled for December in the United Arab Emirates, serves as a crucial platform for decisive action. The hope is that global leaders will collaboratively take effective steps to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, recognised as the most potent means to combat climate change disasters.
The initial commitment made at the Paris Climate Conference aimed at limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius. Regrettably, significant progress towards this goal remains elusive, resulting in a continued temperature increase. Experts warn of an impending dire situation unless stringent measures are promptly implemented during the COP28 conference.
Repeated calls from climate experts emphasise the urgency for world leaders to adopt immediate and drastic measures to curtail carbon emissions. They stress that the longer the delay in taking action, the more costly and challenging it will be to adapt to the ongoing changes.
Every fraction of a degree in temperature matters, and acting promptly is both a practical necessity and a moral imperative to protect Earth's populations and ecosystems. The escalating challenges posed by climate change make it the most significant threat to humanity and all living things. Failure to take effective action now could lead to even more devastating consequences, as evidenced by the increasing frequency of natural calamities.
International cooperation remains paramount in addressing this global crisis. The COP meetings under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change provide essential platforms for countries to unite, share ideas, and commit to mitigating climate change. COP-28 holds particular significance for Bangladesh, a country acutely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Expectations for COP-28 include a global commitment to ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions. Bangladesh, facing vulnerabilities such as sea-level rise and extreme weather events, seeks aggressive emission reduction targets and clear timelines for achieving them. The nation also anticipates increased financial support for adaptation measures, addressing loss and damage caused by climate change, and fulfilling developed countries' pledges of $100 billion annually in climate finance.
COP-28 should underscore the importance of climate-resilient infrastructure development, focusing on protecting coastal areas, reinforcing riverbanks, and constructing resilient buildings and transportation networks. Bangladesh should advocate for a comprehensive framework for climate-induced migration and displacement, considering the potential for displacement due to rising sea levels.
Technology transfer and capacity building for developing countries, including Bangladesh, should be prioritized. Access to advanced climate mitigation and adaptation technologies is crucial for sustainable development. Advocating for climate justice and equity is also paramount, acknowledging the historical responsibility of developed nations and reaffirming the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities."
Bangladesh can utilise COP-28 as a platform to strengthen regional collaboration on climate issues, fostering cooperation with neighbouring countries in shared river basins and coastal regions. Advocating for a global climate insurance mechanism, sustainable agriculture practices, and carbon pricing mechanisms is crucial, given the significance of agriculture to Bangladesh's economy.
Active youth participation and public engagement in climate action are essential for driving grassroots initiatives. Bangladesh's expectations from COP-28 are rooted in the nation's urgent need to address climate change impacts and secure a sustainable future. By actively participating in negotiations and promoting climate solutions, Bangladesh can play a pivotal role in shaping the outcomes of COP-28, working towards a resilient future for its citizens and ecosystems in the face of a changing climate.
Dr Matiur Rahman is a researcher and development worker.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.