MAC: Mines and Communities

Bangladesh calls for more assistance to reduce climate impacts

Published by MAC on 2010-02-23
Source: Planet Ark (2010-02-16)

But government ignores own potential contribution to emissions

Of all countries around the world, Bangladesh risks being the most profoundly affected by the consequences of adverse climate change - with millions of its poorest citizens facing displacement should sea waters rise by just one meter over the next forty years.

The government claims to be entitled to at least 15% of the US$ 10 billion in funds, supposedly pledged at last December's Copenhagen summit. But its main strategy appears to be the construction of cyclone shelters, rather than adopting any pre-emptive measures.

While Bangladesh's direct contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is miniscule compared with that of some of its near neighbours (China, India, Indonesia), prime minister Sheikh Hasina was quoted earlier this month as being positive towards revival of the long-delayed Phulbari coal mine, currently in the hands of UK's GCM Resources (Asia Energy). See: http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=9866

If this open-pit project proceeds, it would become the nation's single biggest emitter of greenhouse gas and particulate emissions. See: http://www.bicusa.org/en/Article.10979.aspx

The prospect of capturing the coal deposit's methane emissions - and putting them to the service of "clean energy" output - has so far been completely ignored by the government and most (though not all) of its advisors.

[For a discussion of the potential benefits and problems of coal-bed methane generation, see: http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=9218 ]

Bangladesh PM Seeks Early Climate Fund Disbursement

Nizam Ahmed, Planet Ark

16 February 2010

DHAKA - Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged donors countries to come up quickly with promised funds to help her country limit the effects of climate change.

World leaders pledged an initial $10 billion fund at the December climate summit in Copenhagen to help least developed countries (LDCs) most vulnerable to climate change, particularly low-lying costal states like Bangladesh.

"Bangladesh needs quick disbursement of the fund promised in Copenhagen ... as we have already started mitigation programs," she told a donors' conference.

"We have built 100 new cyclone shelters and more are on the way, under 134 climate change action plans."

Opening the two-day meeting called Bangladesh Development Forum, she urged participants to increase the pledged climate fund. Bangladesh, she said, had earmarked a $100 million Climate Change Fund in its 2009-10 (July-June) fiscal budget in addition to a $150 million fund raised with assistance from donors.

The environment ministry has said Bangladesh is entitled to ask for at least 15 percent of the climate adaptation fund pledged at the Copenhagen summit.

Climate experts say at least 20 million of Bangladesh's more than 150 million people will be displaced, and one-fifth of the country's 140,800 sq. km (55,000 sqm) land surface will be inundated if sea levels rise by one meter by 2050.

Donors in attendance included the United States, European Union, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The meeting is to review Bangladesh's development programs, including plans to reduce poverty and help donors select areas of cooperation.

Disaster management officials said Bangladesh has more than 2,500 shelters for some 2.5 million people. But these are insufficient for more than 20 million coastline residents.

The meeting is the first of its kind since Hasina returned to power following a December 2008 parliamentary election that ended a two-year period of rule by an army-backed interim government.

Bangladesh annually receives some $1.5 billion in assistance from donors.

(Editing by Anis Ahmed and Ron Popeski)

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