According to World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), extreme weather, climate and water-related events have caused 11,778 reported disasters in the last half century, killing two million people and causing trillions of dollars of economic damage. More than 90 per cent of the reported deaths happened in developing countries and economic damage from floods, storms and wildfires has soared by a factor of eight since 1970, totalling 4.3 trillion US dollars (£3.5 trillion). Reportedly, Bangladesh had the highest death toll in Asia with 520,758, attributed to 281 disasters.
The climate time bomb is ticking. The rate of temperature rise in the last half-century is the highest in 2,000 years. Concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their highest in at least two million years. There is strong evidence that deteriorating environments caused by climate change are driving millions of people to resort to mass migration in their search for a better life, both within countries and across borders.
In 2021, about 23.7 million people were uprooted within their own countries, usually temporarily, as a result of disasters, many related to weather extremes, according to the Internal Displacement Migration Centre. Without serious and rapid action to deal with climate change, about 216 million people could be internal climate migrants by 2050, according to the World Bank.
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Four key climate change indicators – greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification – set new records in 2021. This is yet another clear sign that human activities are causing planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean, and in the atmosphere, with harmful and long-lasting ramifications for sustainable development and ecosystems, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
We are already too late to do much to arrest climate change. Even climate scientists are stunned by the pace at which the climatic conditions are being disrupted by the ignorance and deep-rooted selfishness of humanity. The past seven years have been the warmest seven years on record. The world must act to prevent ever worsening climate impacts and to keep temperature increase to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The world is now going through a situation where the most vulnerable countries, which deserve the highest level of priority, are failing to access 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. As developed countries are accountable for the severe consequences of climate change, they must provide with necessary financial, technological and intellectual support to the developing countries following the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.
Wealthier countries must help emerging economies speed their renewable energy transition. Needless to say, developing countries like Bangladesh need a global commitment to face climate challenges.