A clarion call to climate action | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 22, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:09 AM, September 22, 2019

A clarion call to climate action

World must realise the urgency to tackle global warming

It’s no longer a secret that climate change is taking place at a faster pace than we had predicated, and its effects are already punishing. Among countries that are most vulnerable to climate change is Bangladesh, where, according to the latest assessment by IMF, one-third of the population is at risk of displacement—because of rising sea levels caused by global warming—although the country accounts for less than 0.35 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. These dire warnings are being validated by news of displacements in our coastal regions. Around the world, in the first six months of 2019, more than seven million people had been displaced by extreme weather events, while as many as 22 million might be displaced by the end of the year. These assessments are surely cause for concern and anger, but a reason for hope this week has been the powerful call to action that came through the global climate strike, which kicked off on Friday.    

The strike, led by schoolchildren, saw millions of people worldwide, including in Bangladesh, calling for “an end to the age of fossil fuels and climate justice for everyone.” There is something beautiful yet profoundly sad about these youth-led mobilisations. It shows that children are stepping up for a safer planet for their future; it also demonstrates our failure to stop the environmental disaster as well as the urgency of tackling global warming, a major aspect of the current climate change. The children are showing us the way and the adults, most specifically policymakers and business leaders, need to listen and learn.

Although countries like Bangladesh are at the frontline of the crisis, climate change is affecting all of us, some more than the others, and it is only through our collective action that we stand a chance of fighting it with any degree of success. All focus should be on cutting global emissions and building clean energy for all and helping more vulnerable countries in their adoption measures on a priority basis. “Everything counts,” as Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg has said, and as things stand, we’re left with no choice but to give our everything.

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