The work of experts will not matter if powerful nations are not willing to put the planet first
While climate change concerns every human on the planet, there is no denying that some countries are more vulnerable than others. Richer nations have plenty of cushioning to deal with the adverse effects, but countries like Bangladesh are feeling the impact at this very moment. The problem for us is not merely theoretical or philosophical -- it is a reality we grapple with every day.
At an event in the sidelines of the 75th United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina delivered a much-needed five-point recommendation. This is a laudable move, and the recommendations are sensible, realistic, and urgent. It can now only be hoped that the world will step up and work together to undo whatever damage has already been done to the planet.
The coronavirus pandemic may have thrown the world into turmoil, but it must be remembered that climate change is a much more looming existential threat, and one that requires not just science and research, but political will at the highest level. The work of experts will not matter if powerful nations are not willing to put the planet first.
PM Hasina has reiterated what climate scientists have been saying: The global temperature increase must be limited to 1.5C and all the Paris provisions must be implemented. Furthermore, international cooperation and political leadership are needed. Most importantly though, climate-vulnerable nations need to be paid.
Bangladesh has a lot on its hands, and the work ahead will require funds. Already, we have built over 4,000 cyclone shelters and 523 flood shelters. We may be doing our best at home in terms of adaptation and mitigation, but countries with high per capita emissions need to take responsibility and step up. The damage already wrought needs to be paid for.