Climate fund still a pledge

November 29, 2010

Bangladesh along with other weather-hit countries to raise voice once again for its quick release as UN starts Cancun summit today
The 16th United Nations climate conference kicks off in Cancun, Mexico today amid this year’s experience of numerous extreme weather events, and doubling of related global human death toll compared to last year’s.
Bangladesh and other vulnerable countries will raise their voices there for immediate disbursement of promised climate funds.
Along with placing a specific position, Bangladesh will demand immediate disbursement of adaptation fund for itself as well. The country is yet to receive a penny from the global fund of $30 billion for vulnerable countries, which was promised to be raised by 2012 in the Copenhagen summit last year.
The demands Bangladesh and other vulnerable and least developed countries are going to place also include access to technological support, and reduction of carbon emission by developed and developing countries.
Bangladesh prepared a position paper on various contentious issues of climate negotiations, and on its own vulnerability, a delegate of the Bangladesh government said.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report published in 2007, the damage to the world’s ecology caused by global warming will be irreversible if carbon dioxide emission is not reduced within the next 10 years.
Bangladesh has been dealing with the climate change with its own resources so far. Government sources said although the country has not got any fund yet, international development partners however offered to provide loans for mitigation and adaptation.
“We will demand that the aid be grants, not loans,” said Dr Mihir Kanti Majumder, secretary to the Ministry of Environment and Forest, who left for Cancun on Saturday.
State Minister for Environment and Forest Dr Hasan Mahmud will lead the Bangladesh delegation, which will also attend seminars and media conferences on the sideline of the conference.
Bangladesh delegates said, as representatives of the least developed and most vulnerable countries, they demand that developed nations commit to reduce 40 percent of their carbon emission by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050; and strive not to let world temperature ever rise over 2 degrees Celsius than the temperature of pre-industrial age.
Around 100 participants including 70 government delegations from Bangladesh are attending the conference.
A number of development agencies demanded that the negotiations this year begins with far more urgency than last year’s, as an increased number of weather-related disasters happened this year including a record rise in temperature, floodings, and rising sea level.
A new Oxfam report titled “More Than Ever: Climate Talks That Work for Those That Need Them Most” says 21,000 people died due to weather related disasters globally in the first nine months of this year, compared to last year’s toll of 10,000.
The world this year also experienced an increased number of extreme weather events compared to the ten-year average of 770. It has been one of the hottest years ever recorded, with Pakistan logging 53.7 degrees Celsius — the highest ever recorded in Asia.
Author of the Oxfam report, Tim Gore, said, “This year has seen massive suffering and loss due to extreme weather disasters. This is likely to get worse as climate change tightens its grip. The human impacts of climate change in 2010 send a powerful reminder why progress in Cancun is more urgent than ever.”
While climate change cannot be held responsible for a specific weather-related disaster, climate models indicate that the weather extremes of this year are likely to get worse due to the change. Therefore, people who are already vulnerable are likely to be at even greater risk.
The recent floods in Pakistan affected more than 20 million people, submerging about a fifth of the country, claiming 2,000 lives and causing damage to the tune of $9.7 billion.
Summer temperatures in Russia exceeded the long-term average by 7.8 degrees Celsius, doubling the daily death rate in Moscow to 700, and causing fires that destroyed 26 percent of the country’s wheat crop. Russia banned grain export as a result, and soon after world grain prices increased, particularly affecting the global poor.
Delegates of about 194 countries will gather in Cancun for the 16th Meeting of Conference of Parties (COP 16) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). No head of state is however scheduled to attend.
The new Executive Secretary of UNFCCC Christina Fegueres at a media conference in Cancun yesterday hoped that a balanced package will be achieved there.
Global warming is threatening the habitats of plants and animals, putting pressure on food production, and melting the ice caps in Greenland and the Arctic, causing the sea level to rise. The temperature rise is caused by increased amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, not least carbon dioxide, which is mainly related to human use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, says the IPCC report.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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