August 4, 2021, 12:16 am

Staff Correspondent

2021-04-28 15:37:08 BdST

Implementation of Paris deal only way to check global warming: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday laid emphasis on the strict implementation of the Paris Agreement, saying it is the only way to check global emissions and thereby global warming.

"The time to take action to save the planet is not tomorrow, but today," she said in her prerecorded video message in the Foreign Policy Virtual Climate Summit.

The prime minister said climate change is not boundary-specific.

"If one country emits, every country is affected. So, every country would have to play its role," she said.

She, however, said the rich countries, especially the G20 nations, should play the main role in halting the global emission.

Sheikh Hasina also hailed the USA's return to the Paris Agreement and appreciated US President Joe Biden's decision and also holding the Leaders' Summit last week.

She stressed the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement wherein the international community pledged to form a $100-billion fund each year for the adaptation and mitigation purposes.

Hasina said in the Paris Climate Accord, member countries have agreed not to allow the global temperature to rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"But nothing substantial has so far been done to check the emission of greenhouse gases which are responsible for the temperature rise," she bemoaned.

The PM said the global temperature is rising and there is no doubt about it. "And this temperature-rise is the main culprit of all ills. The continuous rise in global temperature is the most pressing concern for humankind.

"After Covid-19, the most discussed subject of the time perhaps is climate change. Climate change has now become a huge threat to every country, especially the climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh," she said.

Talking about the challenges of Bangladesh on the climate change issue, the Prime Minister said countries like Bangladesh have been experiencing increased frequencies and ferocities of various natural calamities like flood, drought, tidal surge, nor'wester and lightning.

"Currently, a heatwave is sweeping over my country."

Last year, she said Bangladesh experienced heavy monsoon that submerged one-third of the country. Several cyclones, including super cyclone Amphan, also hit the country last year. "All these phenomena are due to climate change.

"Bangladesh is not an emitter. In fact, no member country of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is a significant emitter. But we're the worst sufferers. Every year 2 percent of my country's GDP is lost to extreme climate events."

In this connection, she mentioned the 1.1 million forcibly evicted Rohingyas from Myanmar that Bangladesh has sheltered in the environmentally critical Cox's Bazar district, has heavily affected the ecology of the area.

Hasina also said that the bottom 100 countries account for just 3.5 percent of the global emission whereas the G20 countries are responsible for 80%. The CVF countries are at the forefront of climate adaptation.

She mentioned that Bangladesh is the first LDC to establish a Climate Change Trust Fund. So far, it spent over $415 million from its own resources to implement over 800 mitigation and adaptation programmes.

"Our Parliament adopted a motion in 2019 declaring the current state of climate vulnerability as a planetary emergency.

"We're planting 30 million saplings and launched a programme called 'Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan', marking the birth centenary of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman."

She said Bangladesh is spending on average 2.5 percent of its GDP -- equivalent to $5 billion -- each year on climate adaptation and resilience-building. Bangladesh has built 12,000 cyclone shelters and 200,000 hectares of coastal green belts.

The scientists of Bangladesh have invented salinity and flood-tolerant crops, rain reservoirs and pond-sand-filters, floating agriculture technology and mobile water treatment plants for the coastal people, she said.

"The provisions of water bodies and tree plantation are ensured while implementing any project. We're creating artificial mangrove forests in the chars and shoals of coastal districts."

The government is building cyclone-resistant houses for the poor in the cyclone-prone areas, she said, adding, "For preserving water and increasing navigability, we are dredging rivers and canals throughout the country."

She also mentioned that the Global Centre on Adaptation has set up its South Asian Regional Office in Dhaka. The centre is working to disseminate local-based innovative adaptation practices.

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