Thongchai Thailand

BANGLADESH: A CLIMATE EMERGENCY POSTER CHILD

Posted on: March 13, 2020

 

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THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A RECENT ASSESSMENT BY PAUL RONALDS OF SAVE-THE-CHILDREN-AUSTRALIA [LINK] OF HORRIFIC IMPACTS OF AGW CLIMATE CHANGE IN BANGLADESH PRESENTED IN A HISTORICAL CONTEXT. 

PAULRONALDS

 

 

PART-1: THE PAUL RONALDS ASSESSMENT

Bangladesh is a country of 165 million people with a land mass two-thirds the size of Victoria of which 80% is a floodplain. The country is at the existential pointy end of the climate emergency. As sea levels rise and more water flows down the country’s many rivers due to ice melts in the Himalayas; and as cyclones in the Bay of Bengal become more severe, flooding in this already very flood-prone part of the world will only increase. Stronger storms push higher seas further inland, rendering barren the regional food bowl. The damage wrought by climate change is different from their prior environmental hardships because the climate change impacts are permanent. The social and economic effects of climate change are already significant and highly visible and will be devastating if allowed to continue. Displacement is a major issue and becoming more so. Many Bangladeshis impacted by these environmental changes in other parts of the country are moving to the capital, Dhaka, already one of the most densely populated mega-cities in the world. This teeming city struggles to cope with the current influx and the slums are already home to 40 per cent of the population. According to the International Organization for Migration, up to 70 per cent of the slums’ residents are effectively environmental refugees. Basic public services like education and health care are stretched. Sewage runs freely and diseases spread quickly in impossibly cramped conditions.

 

PART-2A: HISTORICAL CONTEXT: OLDER NEWS ITEMS

  1. 2004: An unprecedented 4-year study of the Arctic shows that Arctic summer sea ice may disappear entirely and combined with a rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet, it will raise the sea level 3 feet by 2100 inundating Bangladesh.
  2. 2007: Climate scientists say that at the current rate of increase in the use of fossil fuels, the sea level would rise by 7 meters in 100 years and devastate low-lying countries like Bangladesh.
  3. 2008: In May 2008 Cyclone Nargis, with unremarkable maximum wind speeds of 100 mph, struck Myanmar and caused a freak storm surge that went up the Irrawaddy River and killed 140,000 people. Climate science claimed this event as an impact climate change. This assessment created widespread panic in the region with Myanmar, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India all forecasting and fearing Nargis-like storm surges.
  4. 2009: Man-made global warming is causing Greenland’s glaciers to melt at an alarming rate. By the year 2100 all the ice there will have melted causing a calamitous rise in the sea level that will inundate Bangladesh.
  5. 2009: Bangladeshis displaced by Cyclone Sidr in 2007 are “climate refugees” because they have been rendered homeless by a climate change event that was caused by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and it suggests that cyclones like Sidr will continue to ravage this poverty stricken nation unless we forge a plan in Copenhagen and do away with fossil fuels.
  6. 2010: Climate science says that fossil fueled global warming is causing ice to melt and sea levels to rise and that the destruction that this process can cause is already evident in that the ocean has taken back an island from Bangladesh. Moore Island or Talpatti in local language, has disappeared under the sea due to climate change.

 

PART-2B: HISTORICAL CONTEXT: CURRENT NEWS  ITEMS

  1. UNICEF 2019  [LINK]  : Devastating floods & cyclones linked to climate change are threatening 19 million children in Bangladesh. Climate change is deepening the environmental threat faced by families in Bangladesh’s poorest communities. Climate change has the potential to reverse many of the gains that the country has made in child survival and development. Bangladesh’s flat topography, dense population and weak infrastructure make it vulnerable to climate change. Extreme weather events, such as flooding, storm surges, cyclones , sea level rise and salt water intrusion are forcing families deeper into poverty and displacement. The flooding of the Brahmaputra River in 2017 inundated 480 community health clinics and damaged 50,000 tube wells. 4.5 million children live in coastal areas regularly struck by powerful cyclones. Farming suffers increasing periods of drought. Climate Change is pushing poorer Bangladeshis to abandon their homes and communities and and become climate refugees in Dhaka and other cities where children are exploited. There are now 6 million climate migrants in Bangladesh.
  2. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 2019 [LINK] : Bangladesh is densely populated and subjected to  tropical storms, flooding, and other natural disasters and climate change is accelerating thee old forces of destruction, creating new patterns of displacement and chaotic urbanization. US foreign aid has not done enough to combat climate change-induced migration. In terms of climate change driven migration. Climate change is disrupting traditional rain patterns with droughts in some areas and floods in others.Climate change driven heavy runoff from the Himalaya Mountains cause flooding and riverbank erosion. Sea-level rise is pushing saltwater into coastal agricultural areas and submerging large swaths of land. 700,000 Bangladeshis are displaced on average each year by Climate Change disasters with a higher number during cyclone years as in Cyclone Aila in 2009. Overall, the number of Bangladeshis displaced by climate change could reach 13.3 million by 2050. People flee vulnerable coastal areas for urban slums in densely populated megacities particularly Dhaka that are fraught with extreme poverty.
  3. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 2017 [LINK] :  There is an unfolding tragedy of Climate Change in Bangladesh where a 3-foot rise in sea level would submerge 20% of the country and displace 30 million people. Here, the impact of climate change is obvious with unprecedented human tragedy with  16 million climate change refugees in decrepit slums. Cyclone Roanu struck in May 2016, washing away homes and ruining croplands with salt deposits. Bare rock in the high Himalayas is a reminder that climate change caused a long-term decline in snowpack in the Himalayas, which exacerbates flooding Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries on earth. Sea surface temperatures in the shallow Bay of Bengal have significantly increased, which, scientists believe, has caused Bangladesh to suffer some of the fastest recorded sea level rises in the world. Storm surges from more frequent and stronger cyclones push walls of water 50 to 60 miles up the Delta’s rivers. At the same time, melting of glaciers and snow-pack in the Himalayas, which hold the third largest body of snow on Earth, has swollen the rivers that flow into Bangladesh from Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and India. So too have India’s water policies. India diverts large quantities of water for irrigation during the dry season and releases most water during the monsoon season. In an ‘average’ year, one quarter of the country is inundated. Every four to five years, “there is a severe flood that may cover over 60% of the country.” Rapid erosion of coastal areas has inundated dozens of islands in the Bay. Sandwip Island shrank 90% in the last two decades. Climate change in Bangladesh caused the largest mass migration in human history. The population of what the islands exceeds four million. The Bangladesh climate calamity demands a response from the international community to help with construction of roads, power plants, water supply systems, housing and other infrastructure to help these climate refugees to remain and thrive in their own country.
  4. UNITED NATIONS [LINK] : The fishing industry in southern Bangladesh was badly affected when cyclone Sidr hit in November 2007. Winds of up to 250 km/hr lashed the coastline and beyond. It was one of the worst disasters the country has ever witnessed because Climate Change is making the weather pattern here worse. It is having a devastating effect on communities in one of the poorest nations in the world. In the Southern Burguna District, at least 2,500 people suffered when the cyclone struck. Boats stand idle with many of them damaged or without their owners because many died in the disaster. Around 1,500 trawlers were affected. Shiraz and his family are struggling to cope. He lost his boat and was hit by a tree while trying to get to land in the stormy weather. He has a hip fracture and he remains injured. The family like many others here are now dependent on aid.
  5. YOUTUBE VIDEOS OF DOOM: A large number of Youtube videos have claimed that Bangladesh is going under water and its land area is shrinking due to climate change in spite of the reality that the delta is actually growing. Here is a link  [LINK] where we find that “The rivers that drain into Bangladesh deposit more than 500 million tonnes of sediment each year. Many islands do disappear but new ones emerge. In fact, more land is gained than lost. In this context, the formation of a single island in the 1970s and its disappearance 30 or so years later are not remarkable and do not have any implications with respect to the supposedly catastrophic effects of carbon dioxide emissions. Only a measurable trend in a reduction of the total land area of Bangladesh over a period of many years could be presented as evidence of such a global event. These data have not been presented possibly because the delta is actually growing – not shrinking. The rate of growth is estimated to be over 12 square miles per year. These data are not consistent with the idea that a rising sea level caused by carbon dioxide emissions is inundating Bangladesh. In any event, the claim that the sea level is set to rise by one meter by the year 2050 is at odds with more recent press releases by the IPCC in which even the modest forecast of a rise of 59cm by the year 2100 has been withdrawn along with a slew of retractions after flaws in their science became widely publicized.

 

THE REALITY IS THAT THE COUNTRY IS BOOMING IN SPITE OF ITS RISING DIRECT FOREIGN INVESTMENT RISK CREATED BY REPEATED FALSE ALARMS OF DEVASTATION BY CLIMATE CHANGE. [LINK]

The momentum behind Bangladesh's economic growth continues to build

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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