Friday, November 25, 2011

Bangladesh's vulnerability to climate change

Md. Asadullah Khan in the Daily Star (Bangladesh): The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to UNFCC does not offer much hope of striking an accord as the US and other industrialised countries are reluctant to come up with $100 billion Green Climate Fund because of lack of consensus on fund management as well as financial crisis in the industrialised world. Progress in the UN climate talks during the last one decade has been painfully slow, ending in a deadlock as short term economic interests rather than protecting our environment and people's well being dominate decision making.

...The worst has already started playing out. Seas have risen by 25 cm this century. More thermal expansion of sea water and glacier melting will push oceans up further. Seas rising by millimeters and lands warming by fractions of degrees might not sound too much but, in the giant thermometer that is the earth, it might be enough to change life forever. A half-metre sea rise, for instance, will be enough to wipe out India's or Bangladesh's coastal areas.

Because of such unusual melting, a huge amount of water along with silt and mud will flow through the rivers of Bangladesh, but as a consequence of heavy sediment deposit on the beds of the rivers they have lost the capacity to retain water in the monsoon season, resulting in heavy flooding of the plain land and affecting habitat, agriculture, livelihood and living of the people. With the river bed of Kobadek pushed up because of sediment deposit, vast areas of Jessore, Satkhira, and Khulna have now become a watery mass.

...The other problem is that encroaching salt water can contaminate water supplies and fresh water ponds that coastal villages depend on. The rising ocean finds it easier to make its way inland as the level of coastal rivers and streams drops. The threat of contaminated water supplies is perhaps the most serious problem posed by the rising sea levels....

One village in Bangladesh, shot by Asif, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

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