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Global challenge of climate change

 

Rayhan Ahmed Topader:

 

Climate Change is a renewed wakeup call on the urgency of taking action at the global level to address climate change. It has, with more accuracy and confidence, confirmed that at least onedegree Celsius of temperature rise compared to pre-industrial level can be attributed to human activities. The recent climate events in North America, Europe and Asia, such as heat stress, wildfires and floods, are ample evidence of runaway climate change. Against this, what is urgently needed is exponentially enhanced adaptation actions, particularly in the most vulnerable low-income countries. Obviously, COP26 to be held in Glasgow in just three months is expected to negotiate an ambitious programme on adaptation. The July ministerial meeting held in London reached an understan- ding on putting adaptation on a higher political plane while moving forward. It may be mentioned that for the last few years, framing of adaptation has been expanded by multidiscipli- nary thinking from the national to global levels, requiring global cooperation and multi-stakeholder engagement. Accordingly, this norm of globalising responsibility for adaptation is recognised in the Paris Agreement, as a global goal and a global challenge.An important corollary of this message was that not every community in every country would be adversely affected immediately the poorest communities in the poorest countries would be the first to experience the impact; hence, tackling climate change was no longer just an environmental issue, but a development issue as well.This era of climate change drew in development actors both globally through the United Nations agencies and multilateral development banks.

And nationally with the government authorities of planning and development.The era of adaptation has been pursued since then, in parallel with the era of mitigation, which still continues.Both mitigation and adaptation were enshrined in the Paris Agreement on climate change at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in 2015, where the goal of keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius was agreed upon for mitigation, and a global goal on adaptation was accepted to be developed. The latter goal will be a major subject of discussion in the upcoming COP26, hosted by the United Kingdom in November this year, in Glasgow, Scotland. Assessment report of the IPCC in August this year, we have now entered the third era of climate change, which is about the loss and damage attributable to GHG emissions since the Industrial Revolution, which has already raised global mean temperature over one degree Celsius, which is already causing severe adverse impacts around the world. While the first era was under an environmental paradigm and the second era under a developm- ent paradigm, the third era is under a climate justice paradigm as the problems are caused by the rich and the victims are the poor which is completely unjust and indeed immoral.We still need to continue and do much more of mitigation and adaptation, but we also have to address the inevitable loss and damage from human-induced climate change going forward. Thus, COP26 will be the first climate summit of this new era, and all countries will need to rise to this new challenge.

The objective of the UNFCCC, the actions to reduce emissions, and adapting to climate change is no longer about the future.But about the present as we are already seeing the costs of loss and damage occurring in almost every country. These costs will rise exponentially, at least in the near term, so the new metric for measuring success is how much the loss and damage of climate change is minimised, as it can no longer be avoided or prevented. This will be a major paradigm shift, for which COP26 will have to lay the foundations to deal with it in every COP onwards. The point to recognise is that, as of 2021, the loss and damage of climate change is no longer a developing- country- centric issue, but a global issue as rich countries are beginning to feel the hurt as well. And final point is that a significant paradigm shift is necessary to treat the climate change emergency as an issue of injustice where poor people are suffering due to the pollution caused by rich people this is immoral and unacceptable. It is, therefore, time for every conscious citizen on Planet Earth to think in terms of solidarity for all the victims of loss and damage, and extend a helping hand towards their fellow human beings. Hence, in this new era, everyone, everywhere, needs to take actions to reach that goal every day; we cannot wait for the leaders alone to act. The impacts of the recent hurricane Ida in the United States, which killed more than 50 people and caused floods as far as in New York, was acknowledged by President Joe Biden as being more severe because of human-induced climate change. The same has been proven unequivoc- ally by the science of attribution for having raised global mean temperature above one degree Celsius above the pre-industrial revolution period.

As stated by the recent Sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Thus, it is now clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the world has crossed over the threshold into the era where loss and damage from climate change has become a reality. This means that every day an unprecedented extreme weather event is likely to occur, causing both economic as well as non-economic loss and damage around the world. While these adverse climate change impacts in the next decade or so are no longer preventable, the worst impacts in the longer term can still be avoided—but only by taking emergency measures commensurate with the urgency of the problem. Hence it is absolutely essential for global actions to be taken everywhere every day, by everyone, to tackle the global climate emergency.This was recently emphasised by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), which consists of nearly 50 of the most vulnerable developing countries currently led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh. Prime Minister Hasina called for a global Climate Emergency Pact (CEP), to be agreed upon and adopted at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), due to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, later this year.The main focus of this proposed CEP is for every country to enhance its efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) to keep the global temperature below 1.5 degrees, which is still possible, but only if every country enhances its emissions reduction plan as quickly as possible. The CEP calls for every country to provide information on their actions on an annual basis. Now this needs to become a part of national priority and should be implemented urgently.Bangladesh.

Thus, has an opportunity to show the rest of the world how to deal with climate change as the genuine emergency that it is for every country.

Also Bill Gates is working with the British government to invest and bring down the cost of new greener technologies to help countries hit net-zero emission targets by 2050.Speaking at a Global Investment Summit alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Gates said investment was needed to further develop new technologies that were currently too expensive for the consumer market.Gates said he would work with the UK to identify which projects should be backed, and that he expected at least one of the projects to be ready to scale up in the next five years. The report also reveals a disconnect between where greenhouse gas emissions are generated, and where children are enduring the most significant climate-driven impacts.The 33 extremely high-risk countries, including four from South Asia, collectively emit just 9% of global CO2 emissions. Conversely, the 10 highest emitting countries collectively account for nearly 70% of global emissions.South Asian countries are among the most vulnerable globally to the impacts of climate change. Extreme climate-related events heatwaves, storms, floods, fires and droughts affect more than half of the region’s population every year and continue to burden their economies.Worse, before they can recover from one disaster, another one strikes, reversing any progress made.Also, rising global temperatures and changing weather patterns have put the futures of millions of children living in climate-vulnerable areas in South Asia at constant risk.Around 1 billion children live in one of the 33 countries classified as extremely high-risk, including the four South Asian countries.

For the first time, we have clear evidence of the impact of climate change on millions of children in South Asia. Droughts, floods, air pollution and river erosion across the region have left millions of children homeless and hungry, and without any healthcare and water, said George Laryea-Adjei, Unicef regional director for South Asia.South Asia is home to over 600 million children and has the highest number of young people globally.The report found that these South Asian children are in constant danger from riverine floods and air pollution, but also that investment in child health, nutrition, and education can make a significant difference to protect children from climate change.

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