Thursday, August 5, 2010

Adaptation is the best strategy for Bangladesh to face climate change

Snips from an editorial by Yousuf Jamil in the Financial Express (Bangladesh): Bangladesh has been the victim of catastrophic natural calamities and disasters like cyclones, flooding, desertification, salinization, soil impoverishment and arsenic contamination of ground water. Certainly, there have been severe impacts of global warming and climate change on Bangladesh.

Many climate experts stated that the combination of rising seas, harsher storms and degradation of the Bengal delta may wreak so much havoc that Bangladesh as we know it may virtually cease to exist. Bangladesh has been in the forefront of the climate change debate.

Impacts of climate change are first felt biophysically such as in sea level rise, the inundation of low-lying coastal areas, stronger cyclones resulting in increased coastal flooding, changing patterns in crops and vegetations, runoff changes and the risk of spread of infectious diseases. The long list of biophysical consequences does not stop here; it also includes a range of potential socio-economic impacts. Coping with these impacts depend on a society's technical, institutional, economic, and cultural ability. Therefore, how well-planned is the adaptation will determine how best Bangladesh can cope with the odd impacts of climate change.

…Building adaptive capacity depends on a country's plan, wealth, technology, infrastructure, knowledge that it possesses, institutional arrangements, its commitment to equity, and its social capital. It is, therefore, not surprising that most industrialised countries have higher adaptive capacities than the developing countries. Considering such issues, a question may be asked whether developing countries like Bangladesh have the current level and sufficient adaptive capacity to cope with the impacts of climate change in the long run…

Flooded villages and fields around a river in Bangladesh the day after the 1991 Bangladesh cyclone had struck the country. Shot by Staff Sergeant Val Gempis

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