• Monday, Jul 06, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:02 pm

Tribune Talks: Environmental experts call for rebuilding green economy in a post-pandemic world

  • Published at 09:12 pm June 23rd, 2020

Lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury said the goal at this moment should be limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of 2 degrees Celsius

Speakers at a webinar have noted that the pandemic has given the global community an opportunity to rebuild a green economy in a post-Covid19 world.

The webinar on how not to lose focus on climate change during the pandemic, hosted by Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan, on Tuesday also shed light on rebuilding a sustainable and green economy after the pandemic, importance of inclusiveness at climate change conferences, and importance on taking the advice from environment scientists.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Forest Environment and Climate Change Ministry, said rebuilding does not just mean building back the infrastructure, it also means building better governance and policies.

“If we look at climate change, it is Covid in slow motion,” said Saber Hossain.

Dr Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development (ICCCAD), said this pandemic has taught the world why it is important to listen to science.

“Climate change has not taken a backseat because of the coronavirus. We have seen a manifestation of that when Cyclone Amphan hit Bangladesh,” he said, adding the pandemic had shown very clearly that world leaders, who listened to science, were able to protect their citizens in a significant way from this pandemic.

On the other hand, some world leaders brought sufferings on their people by rejecting science.

As the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 has been delayed by a year, the speakers at the webinar said it must be ensured that the momentum for action on climate change does not get lost.

While moderating the webinar, Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan said this pandemic does not necessarily mean climate change will magically disappear, but perhaps this coronavirus crisis could provide a window and shed light on how these issues should be discussed.

He also said the health crisis has shown the world the consequences of ignoring science.

The speakers at the webinar said the post-pandemic world should opt for a green recovery.

COP26 Regional Ambassador for South Asia Ken O'Flaherty said these two challenges, climate change and the pandemic, need to be confronted together.

The post-Covid19 world and economy should be more sustainable and inclusive, he said.

“We would be pushing green recovery as the heart of our preparation... We also want to support vulnerable countries,” he said.

Sharaban Tahura Zaman, environmental law lecturer at North South University, pointed out only 30 countries have submitted their nationally-determined contribution (NDC) greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target data out of 186 countries.

 “We should take lessons from the last three months. The economy throughout the world did not stop. It just slowed down. The NDC data is very important for the world to go for a green economic recovery,” she said.   

Lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury said the goal at this moment should be limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of 2 degrees Celsius.

“When we talk about inclusiveness, it does not mean all countries showing up at the climate change conference. It means hearing their expectations and incorporating them in the final document,” he said.

He also mentioned that the parameters of the Paris Agreement also need to be revisited because what was good in 2015 might not be good enough in 2021.

DFID Bangladesh Country Representative Judith Herbertson said the emission from agriculture has been very high in Bangladesh because of the rice cultivation.

“Food security is very important, but we also need to look at the other side of the coin,” she said.

Sultana Afroz, chief executive officer at the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Authority of the Prime Minister's Office, said when it comes to loss and damage issues due to climate change, public and private organizations could work together to get a better recovery.

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