Ball in climate culprits' court
With the hope of global leaders making a “real move” now, the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) kicks off today in Durban, South Africa, where delegates from climate-induced vulnerable countries, including Bangladesh, will emphasise the urgency of establishing the adaptation fund body as a means of getting easy and direct access to the fund from 2012.
Representatives from 195 nations are expected to participate at the Durban UN Climate Conference. They expect to reach an agreement on low-carbon path limiting the global temperature not going up more than two degrees Celsius than in the pre-industrial period.
They will also discuss the ways in which progress towards that goal can be made between 2013 and 2015.
A decision on the future of the Kyoto Protocol will be a key part of the Durban outcome, said a member of the Bangladesh delegation.
The Kyoto Protocol, inked in 1995, is the only legally-binding treaty the world at present has to combat climate change.
A consensus to raise the $30-billion “adaptation fund” or Fast Start Finance between 2010 and 2012 was reached by developed nations in Copenhagen in 2009. It has come to be known as COP15.
But, so far, only eight percent of the fund has been released due to complexities.
The progress of disbursement from the adaptation fund is so slow that it may linger up to 2029 with its present rate of five percent a year, which is a drastic 75 percent slower than for the ODA.
Bangladesh will raise its voice demanding that the climate finance under the authority of COP17 to the UNFCCC must be truly new and additional to the official development assistance (ODA) commitments.
The parliamentary standing committee on environment and forest ministry also suggested that Bangladesh should advocate creating an additional fund on climate-displacement people.
Global warming causes massive internal and external migration across the globe due to extreme weather events. The Norwegian refugee council has estimated that as many as 35 million people were displaced worldwide around the globe only in 2010 due to such reasons.
Nearly 350,000 deaths are taking place every year due to the exacerbating effects of climate change on the major health concerns of malnutrition, diarrhoeal diseases, infections and malaria.
Over 99 percent of climate change related mortality occurs in developing countries, and 80 percent of mortality occurs among children while 2.5 million people around the world are currently threatened by climate-related desertification, reveals a study known as 'Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010: State of Climate Crisis'.
Bangladesh, the present chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a newly formed pressure group, will demand not only an extension of the Kyoto Protocol but also a new legally-binding agreement that will lead the world to a low-carbon path, the delegation member said.
The CVF includes small island states vulnerable to extreme weather events and those with immense expanses of low-lying coastlines such as Vietnam and Bangladesh and some dry nations of East Africa.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, while addressing the CVF meet in Dhaka earlier this month, stressed that governments must create a $100 billion “Green Climate Fund” in Durban without any delay.
Thus, the Durban conference acquires significance for countries vulnerable to climate change. The first phase of the green fund -- chalking out its particulars -- can be completed during the meeting where participants will attach a greater sense of urgency to the issue.
The green fund is supposed to be used in boosting the use of cleaner energy, promoting mitigation, adaptation and for technology transfer and research.