Climate change is no hoax  

Mohammad Amjad Hossain     | Published: September 14, 2018 22:10:54 | Updated: September 15, 2018 21:22:49

President Donald Trump of the United States of America, the second-largest carbon-dioxide emitting nation on earth, quit Paris International Climate change pact in June 2017. San Francisco of California was the biggest venue for protests on September 9 this year, as part of a worldwide protest to save the climate. Around 90 countries organised demonstrations to protect the climate.

Though President Trump has quit the Paris International Climate change treaty, as many as 16 states in the USA have joined the alliance. As many as 195 countries have signed the Paris treaty, a by-product of the UN Framework convention on climate change. This writer participated in one such conference on the UN Framework convention in Bonn on October 25, 1999, following the Kyoto climate change programme in 1997. The Bush administration had also not signed the Kyoto agreement.

On September 9 in San Francisco, around 30,000 people, including native Indians and indigenous Kichwa people, representatives of Sarayaku in Ecuadoran Amazon forest, took part in the protest demanding protection from climate change. Slogans like 'Alternative energy, not alternative fact'; 'Defend democracy and Impeach Putin's poodle' and many others were spotted. The governor of California Jerry Brown had faced criticisms for allowing the continued extraction of natural gas and oil under his watch. After the protests, the governor has signed a bill that will slash carbon dioxide emissions over the next three decades. The state of California is the fifth-largest economy in the world.

At the same time, tens of thousands of people in France joined the climate march across the country. In northern India, about 10,000 students and teachers tied red ribbons to trees, demanding the end of deforestation in the country. It is understood several trees around Himalaya hills are being uprooted.

In Bangkok, fishermen and day-labourers joined a protest rally at the site of UN climate talks because their livelihoods are threatened by the rise in sea level. They urged the government to place coastal erosion on the national agenda. In Sydney, protesters demanded that administration halt plan for a $ 16 billion coalmine in Queensland.

The Paris treaty has asked nations to "cap the rise in global temperature at well below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (two Celsius) and promised $ 100 billion per year from 2020 in climate finance to world's most vulnerable nations."

As the climate has been changing, there has been an unnerving rise in heat waves, wild fires, cyclones, floods, tornados and earthquakes in different parts of the world. But the US environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still lagging behind. It recently proposed to replace a climate initiative signed during the Obama administration. Called the clean power plan, the initiative is aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from the nuclear power sector. The EPA has legal obligations to protect Americans from devastating effects of climate change from supercharged hurricanes to seemingly unstoppable wild fires plus rising sea level, apart from burning fossil fuels. The Trump administration is also bent on rolling back limitation on methane gas emission, one of the most dangerous greenhouse gasses contributing to climate change.

Bangladesh is under threat from climate change. The country has been experiencing hot, wet and humid tropical climate, apart from floods and cyclones.

The government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, however, launched a climate-smart agriculture country profile and a climate-smart investment plan in 2018.The government can also consider utilising services of Dr Sajed Kamal, youngest son of Poet Sufia Kamal, who lives in Boston, USA. He has developed an expertise in solar energy.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, came out with an appeal on September 10 asking world leaders to take "dramatic steps" to limit greenhouse gas emissions within the next two years. He also announced a summit on climate change to be held in September of 2019 that will review the progress made by world leaders plus what more they intend to do to reduce the threat.

Mohammad Amjad Hossain, retired diplomat and former President of Toastmaster International Club of America, writes from Virginia


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