• Monday, Oct 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:26 pm

OP-ED: Climate of our discontent

  • Published at 07:02 pm September 25th, 2020
climate change
Photo: BIGSTOCK

To fight climate change, the developed world must act

Bangladesh is a country which has, since its birth, been looked down upon, neglected and, to a great extent, exploited, by “eminent” global leaders, who, presumably, had thought it fit to run the state of affairs across the world. 

However, the successes of those leaders in protecting the global economy as well as the environment across the world are far from praiseworthy. In fact, they, in their mad race to develop their own countries, have failed miserably in preventing the process of environmental degradation and carbon emissions over the years. They have also failed miserably to make their economic growth sustainable.

A mega-president of a mega-country recently claimed that climate change is a hoax. He went on to say that all scientists were wrong about predicting the impacts of climate change. He nonchalantly forgets that his country is among the countries that emit 80% of global carbon. 

We’ve recently learnt that the issue of climate change may become an important factor in their upcoming presidential elections.

Another mega-president just told the UN General Assembly that his country would be carbon-neutral by the year 2060. What an achievement! It will take another 40 years for them to reduce their emission to zero. The interesting question is: What will they be doing in these 40 years? They will keep growing with their contribution of 28% of global carbon.

The Covid-time disparity between these two countries have shown that they have grown their mentality of conflict-mongering even more than what they had shown in the past. Although they have pledged some actions, we certainly know that the promises won’t be kept.

There’s a clear global division in terms of saving the earth. One wants to save the ecology and the other doesn’t. It’s apparent that these countries are not on the same page when it comes to reducing the impacts of climate change. And it takes a leader of a developing country to remind everyone that a combined initiative is needed to save the earth.

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the president of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, said, in an article in The Guardian, that we could have done much more in terms of combating climate change.

She clearly reminded all that if the big carbon-emitters do not reduce their emissions, all initiatives will be meaningless. She also reminded all that the G-20 countries emit 80% of global carbon. Therefore, without their contribution in the cause, nothing fruitful will happen.

She mentioned the Paris Treaty of 2015, saying that it is our best hope. A total of 189 countries have signed the treaty.

France’s Emmanuel Macron has said something hopeful for the rest of the world. He said: “The world today cannot be reduced to the rivalry between China and the United States, irrespective of the global weight of these great powers.” He added: “We do not have to settle for a ‘pas de deux’ that would make us only the rueful spectators of a collective powerlessness.”

His voice may be a flicker of hope in the grim atmosphere of US-China rivalry, but at the same time, Macron also couldn’t rise above France’s self-interest. He reminded on the global stage that Paris won’t retreat from the Iran nuclear deal.

However, the good news is that many echoed PM Hasina, saying that climate change and the Covid economy must be tackled together. Because the future is going to be different, very different -- which should be thought of collectively. 

Initially, at the onset of Covid when the economy came to a screeching halt, we all thought the era of globalization was over. But we were wrong. The need to globalize is here to become more important than what it was in the past.

Previously, we had utilized the concept of globalization in terms of exploiting others by expanding our own businesses. Going forward, globalization should be used in terms of coordination, not competition. If we fail to do that, we’ll certainly head for doom.

Yes, you’ve already seen that your hegemonic chauvinism didn’t work over the past 75 years. You couldn’t help the people to live sustainably. You’ve only propagated conflicts and wars in the name of peace. It’s now an open secret that war is a business to you.

Now is the time to move away from that concept. Because the earth’s climate will not spare you or your chivalry. Climate change has wiped out many lives in the past. 

So, kindly remember that we’re about to enter a much more dangerous era if you don’t change yourselves.

Ekram Kabir is a yogi, a story-teller and a communications professional. His other works can be found on ekramkabir.com.

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