Bangladesh on the road to Copenhagen

Posted: ফেব্রুয়ারি 3, 2009 in Climate Change

THE consequences of climate change are dire. And they are already taking place. Like Bangladesh, many other regions in the world will be hit hard by climate changes. Floods are getting more common, storms are getting tougher, and land droughts are getting longer. The melting of the ice caps in Greenland and the Arctic is picking up pace and sea levels are rising. The habitats of plants and animals are threatened. Food production is under pressure. All over the world the weather is changing.

The respected English economist Lord Nicholas Stern has predicted that millions, perhaps even hundreds of millions, of people could be climate fugitives by 2050, fleeing from flooding, water shortage, famine, and natural disasters.

As if that wasn’t enough, climate change is on the verge of a tipping point. If left unbridled, the temperature rise may trigger effects that will increase the pace of changes dramatically and make the damages irreversible. According to Nobel Laureate and head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations, Dr Pachauri, we have only ten years to turn the boat.

IPCC — which consists of more than 2000 scientists and researchers — has concluded that it is more than 90% certain that human activity has contributed to global warming. The temperature rise is caused by increased amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, not least CO2. The emission of CO2 is mainly related to use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

Under any circumstance, we need to think smarter in the future: In 2050, we will be 9 billion people living on this earth, and 8 of these 9 billion will be living in areas that we today call the developing world. To me, this makes it obvious that the economic growth simply needs to be a sustainable growth. The resources in the world are scarce. Being as energy efficient as possible and finding new smarter energy solutions are imperatives of the years to come. And it underscores that tackling climate change is also a question of ensuring growth, development and security.

Not every aspect of the challenge of climate change will be overcome once and for all in Copenhagen. But if everything works out, the conference could go down in history as the moment where the leaders of the world united and took a significant step towards stopping the dangerous and destructive climatic changes.

To host such an event is a great honour. In 2009, Denmark takes on this task humbly, and well aware that no matter how hard we try we have no guarantee for success. We will work for an ambitious result, and as hosts will listen and mediate. That is why a conference like “Bangladesh on the road to Copenhagen” in Dhaka is important to us. Together with the Honourable State Minister of Environment and Forests, Mr. Mostafizar Rahman and a group of both Bangladeshi and international key decision makers, we shall discuss the tasks ahead of us.

While Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to climate related hazards, I truly believe that Bangladesh — partly for that very reason — is internationally leading when it comes to know-how on climate adaptation. Bangladesh is truly a very important party in the coming negotiations. I feel convinced that Bangladesh is well on its way to Copenhagen.

Ms. Connie Hedegaard is the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy and host of COP15.

The daily star 04.02.2009


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