Climate change: An existential threat for vulnerable countries

Affected nations not getting expected support

While addressing a general roundtable discussion at the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) at Madrid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday asked the global community to take the responsibility for climate migrants as they would be displaced for no fault of their own. Sheikh Hasina also addressed climate change as an existential threat for Bangladesh as it is envisaged that up to 2050 from now, Bangladesh’s annual GDP loss will be 2 percent and at this rate by 2100, the loss will be a staggering 9 percent.

Human settlements have been affected in Bangladesh due to extreme climate events such as Cyclones Sidr and Aila over past years. One of the most adverse and prolonged impact of climate change in Bangladesh has been observed in the form of climate-migration. 

The world is now going through a situation where the most vulnerable countries, which deserve the highest level of priority, are failing to access whatever support that is being realised. Major emitters show extreme reluctance on mitigation, which may wreck the international climate regime and put the climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh at peril.

The world is now going through a situation where

 the most vulnerable countries, which deserve 

the highest level of priority, are failing to

 access whatever support that is being realised

Bangladesh has done almost nothing to cause global warming unlike China, America and India as they bear a great deal of responsibility for the emissions already in the atmosphere, certainly relative to Bangladesh. China and India are the largest polluter and the third-largest emitter, are showing little willingness to embrace higher emissions targets. The United States, second on the list, has even invoked the accord’s formal withdrawal mechanism, a process leading to an official exit in November 2020. These major powers need to take a fresh, hard look at the fact that they and other members of the Group of 20 account for some 80 percent of global emissions of heat-trapping gases.

As developed countries are accountable for the severe consequences of climate change, they must provide necessary financial, technological and intellectual support to the developing countries following the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. Moreover, developing countries like Bangladesh needs a global commitment to face climate challenges.

Considering the situation, international comminuty should realize the need for formulating coherent and research-backed policy, legal and institutional framework at global scale to address climate migration. Immediate steps should be taken to protect people from environmental risks and reduce unwanted migration due to climate change.