Bangladesh ranks among the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change
There is little doubt that, if Bangladesh is to continue its upward trajectory in its development and eventual graduation to a middle-income country, then it is imperative that it increases its current power-generating capacity which, as it stands now, will not be sufficient to support the country’s ongoing development endeavours.
Therefore, on the one hand, news of Bangladesh’s plan to expand its coal-fired power plants -- with the idea of trebling its current capacity by 2041 -- appears to be consistent with Bangladesh’s long-term economic vision, for which it must increase its power-generating capacity.
However, what is also unquestionable is that such an expansion in coal-fired power-generation capacity is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which -- rather than relying on carbon-intensive means of generating power -- encourage clean and renewable sources of energy as an alternative.
Indeed, as a joint report published under a joint initiative of the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) explained: “Expansion of coal-fired power generation is at odds with the goal of stable electricity provision. This expansion risks locking Bangladesh into a carbon-intensive development path.”
Bangladesh ranks among the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change and simultaneously ranks among the fastest growing economies on the planet. While it is true that Bangladesh must not rest on its laurels and continue to scale up the economic ladder, it must ensure that it does so in a sustainable manner, and not which would cause untold long-term problems for itself and its people.