Rich nations are the largest polluters. Hasina says they must do more to cut emissions

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-04-27 22:44:21 BdST


The world’s richest countries are most at fault for climate change, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said, urging them to do more to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

“No member country of the Climate Vulnerable Forum is a significant emitter. But we are the worst sufferers,” Hasina said in her speech to the Foreign Policy Virtual Climate Summit on Monday.

“The bottom 100 countries account for just 3.5 percent of the global emission whereas the G20 countries are responsible for 80 percent.”

Though many countries have joined the Paris Climate Accord, little of substance has been done to check emissions of the greenhouse gases that drive this increase in global temperature, she said.

The effects of climate change do not respect national boundaries, but are felt by all, Hasina said.

“If one country emits, every country is affected. So, every country would have to play its role. However, the rich countries, especially the G20 nations, should play the main role in halting the global emission.”

Hasina expressed her appreciation to US President Joe Biden for rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. She also pushed for stricter implementation of the agreement in cutting emissions and urged the international community to follow through on its pledge of $100 billion in funds to fight climate change.

Bangladesh had to experience much hardship due to climate change, she said.

“Countries like Bangladesh have been experiencing increased frequency and ferocity of various natural calamities like floods, droughts, tidal surges, nor’westers, lightning. A heatwave is currently sweeping over my country.”

The heavy monsoons and regular cyclones that plague the country are also due to climate change and these extreme climate events cost Bangladesh about 2 percent of its GDP each year, she said.

The prime minister called climate change one of the “major issues of our time”, perhaps only second to the immediate threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Climate change has now become a huge threat for every country, especially for the climate vulnerable countries like Bangladesh,” she said.

“The continuous rise of global temperature is the most pressing concern for humankind. The time to take action to save the planet is not tomorrow, but today.”

The prime minister also touted Bangladesh’s various efforts in combating climate change.

She noted that Bangladesh is the first LDC to establish a Climate Change Trust Fund. The fund has spent $415 million to implement 800 migration and adaptation programmes.

“We are spending on an average 2.5 percent of our GDP equivalent to $5 billion each year in climate adaptation and resilience-building.”

The government is also planting saplings, building cyclone shelters, and is researching salinity and flood-tolerant crops, and other advances to minimise the impact of climate change, she said.

In her speech, Hasina also touched briefly on the topics of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 1.1 million Rohingya refugees Bangladesh is hosting.