Bangladeshi climate expert Prof Saleemul Huq listed among Nature's 10 scientists

He has been recognized as he helped to force wealthy countries to pay for the losses and damages from climate change

Bangladeshi renowned climate change expert Professor Saleemul Huq has been named in a list of 10 people who helped shape the biggest science stories in 2022, unveiled by scientific journal Nature. 

The climate expert has been recognized as he helped to force wealthy countries to pay for the losses and damages from climate change.

The list was revealed on Wednesday.

The list selected a total 10 individuals, from all around the globe, who made key developments in science and helped to make amazing discoveries and brought attention to crucial issues in 2022. 

Saleemul Huq, director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Independent University, was instrumental at the COP27 summit where negotiations had gone on for two extra days before attending nations agreed to a "loss and damage" fund.

The "loss and damage" fund is the result of a nearly 30-year campaign, primarily led by Saleemul, for getting the wealthy and high-emitting nations to acknowledge their financial responsibility to low-emitting countries that face devastation as temperatures continue to rise, according to the journal. 

And for more than a decade, that movement's unofficial leader has been Huq, originally a plant biologist who now directs the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Dhaka.

Huq's experience with the turmoil of international politics started young. He was born in Karachi to parents in Pakistan's diplomatic service, before East Pakistan broke away from West Pakistan to become independent Bangladesh after the 1971 war of liberation. His parents, who opted for Bangladesh, escaped capture by Pakistan's military by travelling overland on a donkey to India through Afghanistan, it reads. 

Growing up in Europe, Africa and Asia through his parent's diplomatic postings, he developed a passion for science and moved to London 50 years ago to study biochemistry, eventually doing a PhD at Imperial College London. 

Huq later returned to Bangladesh and co-founded, with Atiq Rahman, the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), an independent think tank focused on environment policy. 

Bangladesh has a long history of environmental disasters, especially flooding. Huq and his colleagues persuaded their government that it needed an environment department, and that BCAS would be its thinking and research arm. BCAS helped the department to write Bangladesh's first environmental action plan, says Mirza Shawkat Ali, the government's director for climate change.

Huq led the establishment of a worldwide network of experts who work in a branch of development called community-based adaptation, says Lisa Schipper, a climate researcher at the University of Oxford, UK. 

This long-standing idea, pioneered in Bangladesh, focuses on helping rural communities to find their own research-based solutions to problems, such as improving flood defences or adjusting cropping patterns in response to climate change.

By the 1990s, he had become active in international climate negotiations, as an adviser to climate-vulnerable countries, especially small island states, helping them to put their needs on the agenda in UN talks, added the journal. 

The list also includes Dr Jane Rigby, an astronomer who helped launch NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

The eight others are- Yunlong Cao, Covid predictor; Svitlana Krakovska, a voice for Ukraine; Dimie Ogoina, a monkeypox watchman; Lisa McCorkell, a long-Covid advocate; Diana Greene Foster, an abortion fact-finder; António Guterres, a crisis diplomat; Muhammad Mohiuddin, a transplant trailblazer; and Alondra Nelson, a policy principal.