Sunday, 5 February, 2023
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COP27: Reality and Our Responsibility

Dr. Mohammad Reazul Haque

COP27: Reality and Our Responsibility
Dr. Mohammad Reazul Haque

In November 2022, the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Sharm el Sheikh, a resort city in Egypt located on the Red Sea coast in the South Sinai Governorate near the southernmost point of the Sinai Peninsula, which carries with it the hopes of the entire world, especially of the  African continent for a successful outcome of mitigating effect of temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emission, due to the ever-increasing use of fossil fuel. A legally binding international treaty on climate change, that came into effect on November 4, 2016, ‘The Paris Agreement’, which is a landmark in the multinational effort to combat climate change was ratified by 196 Parties during the COP21 conference in Paris on December 12, 2015. It is a legally binding pact that unites all nations in the fight against climate change and in an attempt to adapt to its repercussions, which aims at limiting temperature rise well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. In order to achieve the long-term temperature goal and a climate-neutral world by the middle of this century, countries are required to reach global peaking of GHGs emissions as early as possible. 

Climate change is a global issue and it needs a global solution. No nation can solve this problem on its own. Moreover, whatever may the contribution by them to the problem, no nation would be spared from the effect caused by climate change. However, low-lying areas like our country would be the worst sufferer due to climate change and we will have to raise our voices. The degradation of the environment to this current level is the outcome of the aggressive and uncontrolled use of fossil fuels by developed nations. Owing to rapid industrialization since the ‘Industrial Revolution’ fossil fuel burning by industries, businesses, households as well as automobiles has increased manifold in developed countries. In the developing world also use of fossil fuels has increased to keep pace with the developed nations due to their aspiration to become developed nations within the shortest possible time.   The developed nation’s contribution to the GHGs emission has reached far above their carbon budget. Therefore, they have a greater role to play to mitigate this problem. As the emitter of the lion’s share of GHGs, developed countries ought to provide $8.8-$9.9 trillion by 2030 to developing countries as determined by the Standing Committee on Finance. Moreover, they will also have to reduce their emission of GHGs by 45% by 2030 to contain the rise of temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

If we are to limit the rise of global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the Paris Declaration, richer nations are to play their part to reduce carbon emissions as well as to support the developing nations in global transitions. Developed countries have a legitimate responsibility, under the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement, to help developing nations in combating climate change and its adverse effects including in terms of lowering their emissions and providing them with the implementation tools, for instance, financial help, technology transfer, and capacity building, they need to carry out their own mitigation and adaptation measures as well as measures to deal with losses and damages brought on by climate change.  Achieving the 1.5 degrees Celsius target needs meaningful pursuits by developing nations that cannot be expected without international support.  Though emitting carbon dioxide at 420 ppm level not going to limit the rise in temperature target of 1.5 degrees Celsius and the projected rise of emission in 2030 would be 16% more than in 2010, which would be an alarming situation for a nation like us. A third of our country would be inundated by seawater and hundreds and thousands of people would be displaced from their habitat, though our contribution to the GHGs emissions is minimal.  As a densely populated small country loss of a huge amount of land would be catastrophic for us. At present GHGs emission by our country is 169.06 million tonnes. However, which is estimated to be around 409.41 million tonnes by 2030. Although Bangladesh is emitting only 0.21 % of the total global emission it would be one of the worse affected countries due to sea level rise. 

As a vulnerable country due to climate change Bangladesh played a crucial role on behalf of other similarly affected countries and demanded 100 billion USD from the developed countries as promised. However, 230 billion USD is needed in the implementation process of the Bangladesh government-prepared ‘National Adaptation Plan’. It is hoped that with the help of the United Nations ‘Action Plan’ chalked by the Government of Bangladesh could be implemented. Therefore, by acknowledging these facts developed nations should take necessary measures in helping developing countries like Bangladesh. We will have to wait for COP28, which will be held in UAE in 2023, to assess how far we are inclined to our promises.

 

The writer is an Associate professor of 

Chemistry, Chittagong College, Chattogram