Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bangladesh wants money, not more talks on climate change

Terra Daily via AFP: The terrible human cost of cyclones and flooding are plain to see in southwest Bangladesh, a low-lying, impoverished region on the frontline of the battle to adapt to climate change. Cyclone Aila, which hit in May last year, killed 300 people, washed away the embankments which make coastal regions habitable, and left 150,000 survivors reliant on emergency relief supplies including free rice.

Aila was particularly destructive as a huge volume of water, swollen by spring tides, slammed into a densely populated, extremely poor area, said Saleemul Huq of the International Institute for Environment and Development.

"Bangladesh is often said to be on the 'frontline' of adverse climate change impacts due to this combination of a large, dense and poor population with potentially severe changes [in weather] as well as sea level rises," Huq said. "Such severe storms are likely to become more frequent in future," he told AFP, adding that sea level rises mean cyclones and tidal surges will become more devastating.

Such dire warnings explain why, as the UN's talks on climate change begin in Mexico, people in Bangladesh are less interested in the endless debates than in getting money to help communities prepare for increasingly extreme weather….

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