• Monday, Nov 29, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:19 am

Dialogue on COP26: Climate vulnerable groups must be heard

  • Published at 09:46 pm October 17th, 2021
brick kilns
File photo of brick kilns emitting smog Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Mindset of big corporations and major carbon emitting countries needs to be changed, speakers say

The voices of climate vulnerable groups must be heard when making policies and global decisions on climate change, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan has said.

“Climate change is not just an academic issue; it is also a class issue. No one can be left behind,” he added.

The CPD chairman made the remarks while addressing a virtual dialogue on Bangladesh’s expectations from the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). The dialogue was jointly organized by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) under Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) and the CPD on Sunday. 

“When we talk about vulnerability, we usually talk about it as if it is an abstract environmental and geographical issue. However, at the end of the day, vulnerability applies to human beings. The concept of vulnerability relates to individual lives,” Prof Sobhan said. 

Also Read- COP26 envoy: Bangladesh can significantly expand renewable energy

He also said climate vulnerable groups are not adequately recognized and they barely get to sit at the decision-making table.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Dr Rubana Huq said it would be impossible to address climate change unless big organizations change their behaviour.

She added that there is a gap between sourcing and sustainability, giving the example of many e-commerce giants needing to use transportation to deliver goods in different parts of the world. 

Using eco-friendly transportation for delivering goods would help address climate change, but it might slow down the delivery process, she said.

Also Read- WHO: Climate action at COP26 could save millions of lives

“We need to give less priority to speed. You cannot run a business on a dead planet,” said the BGMEA president.

Dr Saleemul Huq, director of the ICCCAD, said leaders need to think beyond the COP26 and come up with an action-oriented plan.

“Climate change is not a country specific problem. Global leaders have to come up with a solution in COP26. However, I would say let us not have our hopes high,” he said. 

While presenting the keynote paper, Dr Fahmida Khatun, executive director of CPD, and Prof Mizan R Khan, deputy director of ICCCAD, pointed out that the temperature in Bangladesh has increased by an average of 0.30 degrees Celsius per year since 1971. From 2000, the temperature in the country has risen by an average of 0.57 degrees Celsius per year.

Also Read- Thunberg calls on world leaders for honesty at COP26

They also said Bangladesh and other climate vulnerable countries have specific agendas at COP26. The countries will be looking for commitments from major carbon emitting countries to limit carbon emissions, to scale up climate funds urgently to support climate vulnerable countries, ensure a large share of climate funds for adaptation, finalize the Paris Rulebook to ensure accountability,  and establish a mechanism for loss and damages. 

Human rights activist and Coordinator of Nijera Kori Khushi Kabir moderated the virtual dialogue. 

Md Abul Kalam Azad, special envoy, Climate Vulnerable Forum Presidency of Bangladesh, said Bangladesh can achieve a significant number of its climate goals because it has a climate trust fund. 

Judith Herbertson, development director, FCDO Bangladesh, British High Commission; Ziaul Haque, director, Dhaka region, department of environment, Ministry of Forests and Climate Change; Enamul Huque, managing director, head of corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking, Standard Chartered Bank; and Charles Whiteley, ambassador, head of delegation, Delegation of the European Union, also spoke at the virtual event.

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