Extreme Weather: Bangladesh bears brunt of severe impacts

UNB || Shining BD

Published: 6/10/2024 8:03:41 AM

A new report by Christian Aid reveals that extreme weather events have caused over $41 billion in damage worldwide in just six months since COP28.

This alarming figure underscores the urgent need for global climate action as countries face increasingly severe weather patterns linked to climate change.

Bangladesh has been severely impacted by record-breaking heat waves and cyclones since last COP, said the report on Monday.

The extreme heat has forced school closures, withered crops, and worsened conditions for displaced Rohingya people.

According to scientific studies, this extreme heat, which has claimed numerous lives across Asia, would have been impossible without human-induced climate change.

In April, Bangladesh experienced temperatures over 40°C for 24 days, shattering a 76-year record.

The heat wave caused significant agricultural damage, with crops such as chillies, pulses, sunflowers, almonds, and rice suffering greatly.

Rohingya refugees, living in tarpaulin structures, faced temperatures of 42°C, the hottest in 35 years in the area.

The heat wave has resulted in the deaths of twenty-eight people in Bangladesh.

Observational analysis suggests that the heat in South Asia was made 45 times more likely and 0.85°C hotter. Under the current climate, this type of extreme heat could now happen every 10 years in West Asia, every 20 years in the Philippines (or every ten years with El Niño), and every 30 years in the wider South Asia region.

The heat wave will hit Asian economies hard, leading to higher inflation and a slowdown in economic growth.

The Christian Aid report, published amid the 60th Bonn climate talks, highlights four extreme weather events scientifically linked to climate change since COP28: floods in Brazil, Southwest Asia, and East Africa, and heat waves across large parts of Asia.

These events have killed over 2,500 people and caused immense economic damage.

Bangladesh has also been hit hard by Cyclone Remal, a devastating storm that killed multiple people and destroyed or damaged over 150,000 homes.

This disaster is part of an ongoing series of extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change.

Nushrat Chowdhury, Climate Justice Advisor at Christian Aid in Bangladesh, expressed her concerns and said, "This is the kind of climate chaos we’ve been experiencing this year, and I worry it will only get worse until the world begins to cut its carbon emissions. The people of Bangladesh are not responsible for this disaster, yet they are faced with huge losses. That is why it’s so important the Loss and Damage Fund gets proper funding so that people can receive support to rebuild their lives and livelihoods after such awful cyclones.”

The 60th Bonn Climate Conference (3-13 June, 2024) aims to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund. As the second week of conference begins, negotiators are working to unblock financial flows to lower-income countries hit by extreme weather.

This funding was a major sticking point at COP28, with wealthier nations slow to agree to the necessary financing.

The UN estimates that $290-580 billion will be needed for loss and damage annually from 2030 onwards, yet only $600 million has been delivered so far.

Rich countries, which have burned fossil fuels for centuries, need to increase their funding to help the world cope with current and future disasters.

The Bonn climate talks represent a halfway point between the last COP and the upcoming one.

At the last COP in Dubai, countries agreed to take action on the climate crisis, but implementation remains slow despite the worsening effects of climate change.

The countries most vulnerable to climate change cannot afford further delays in delivering COP pledges.

Mariana Paoli, Christian Aid’s Global Advocacy Lead, emphasized the need for immediate action.

"We need rich countries who are largely responsible for causing the climate crisis to massively scale up funding for action on climate change. They need to show real creativity and political will, and tax polluters and the super-rich in order to finance real climate action."

The $41 billion in damage is an underestimate according to the charity. Only insured losses are typically reported, and many of the worst disasters have hit countries where few people or businesses have insurance.

The human cost of disasters is also missed in these figures, from those who lost their lives to those whose homes are destroyed, or who lose out on work or education.

Christian Aid also calls for governments and development banks to halt new investments in fossil fuels and to scale up renewable energy.

The charity advocates for the cancellation of historic debts owed by poor countries to rich ones, directing those funds towards improving climate resilience and equity.

Davide Faranda, a researcher at the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace in Paris, highlighted the urgency: "In 2024, global warming caused by human-caused carbon emissions has reached the 1.5°C temperature threshold identified in the Paris Agreement.

This planetary fever is causing widespread heatwaves, droughts, cyclones, and floods which can be directly attributed to human greenhouse gas emissions and that are causing enormous human and economic damages."

Fiona Nunan, Professor of Environment and Development at the University of Birmingham, said, "This year we’ve seen communities across the world struck by cyclones, inundated with flooding, and baked by terrible heatwaves. The economic and social harm they have caused is clearly huge. This extreme weather is to be expected unless the world takes urgent action on rising greenhouse gas emissions."

As the climate talks in Bonn progress, the world watches closely, hoping for meaningful commitments that will address the urgent needs of countries like Bangladesh.

The devastating impacts of climate change are already here, and without swift global action, the future looks increasingly dire.

Shining BD