Youths demand climate justice, more renewable energy

They also called out developed countries and institutions for making false promises to reduce carbon emissions

Bangladeshi youth activists on Friday urged the government and investors to put a stop to the country’s high dependence on fossil fuel imports and other environmentally harmful activities, and to focus instead on expanding use of renewable energy.

The youths further placed demands to stop climate pollution, including by putting pressure on developed countries to keep the global temperature increase within 1.5 degrees, and to reduce carbon emissions.

Fridays for Future Bangladesh and YouthNet for Climate Justice voiced the demands at a rally held in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka as part of the global climate strike organized by the worldwide school student movement Fridays for the Future. 

They demanded justice for climate change and urged developed nations to formulate and implement a fast-track strategy for delivering compensation by setting up loss and damage financial facilities for the climate-vulnerable countries, and providing funds for adaptation action on a priority basis. 

The youths also called out developed countries and institutions for making false promises to reduce carbon emissions. 

Sohanur Rahman, the coordinator of Youthnet for Climate Justice, said: “The climate crisis has become a great disaster for our country and the world. To overcome the climate crisis, it is important to stop the fossil-fuel dependency of our country and foster renewable energy for the future. Similarly, it is necessary to ensure a fair share of polluting countries.”

Dr Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), expressed solidarity with the youths and said: “It is clear that polluters are the reason why the world is going through an era of loss and damage from human-induced climate change; both governments and fossil fuel companies are guilty and must be held to account. It is time to confront the fossil fuel companies who are the real criminals behind the climate crisis – who have knowingly caused harm in order to continue to make profits and have also been influencing politicians in the polluting countries to block progress in the UNFCCC.''

Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar, vice president and country director of The Hunger Project, said: “We must save our environment from destruction. We need to create awareness among people, so they behave responsibly; we also need to prevent all destructive initiatives. This work requires collective action, and the youth of our country can play an influential role here.”

This year, the global climate strike has taken place in 26 districts of the country, where youths from schools, colleges, and universities carried banners, festoons, and placards with their messages. 

Dr Ahmed Kamruzzaman Majumdar, professor of environmental science at Stamford University, was also present at the strike, ‍along with many others.