22 May 2024, 17:18

Saber urges South Asian nations to take urgent actions to address climate change

DHAKA, May 22, 2024 (BSS) - Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury today called upon the South Asian countries to take urgent actions to cope with the adverse impacts of global warming, halting glacier melting in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region.

He made the call while addressing the inaugural session of the 'International Expert Dialogue on Mountain, People, and Climate' held at Chandragiri Hill Resort in Kathmandu, Nepal, according to a message received here.

Saber Chowdhury underscored the critical role of the Hindu Kush Himalaya in the global climate landscape, emphasising the region as "ground zero for climate change".

He stressed the need for de-carbonisation, pointing out the inherent limitations of current adaptation and mitigation measures.

"Unless we de-carbonise, whatever we try to do in terms of adaptation and mitigation measures, it is not going to be enough. There are limits to adaptation and resilience," he said.

The environment, forest and climate change minister criticised the paradoxical approach of increasing carbon emissions while formulating National Adaptation Plans, arguing that such contradictions exacerbate the problem.

Highlighting the concept of climate justice, he articulated the disparity faced by nations like Bangladesh and Nepal, which contribute minimally to global emissions but suffer disproportionately from climate impacts.

Saber Chowdhury lamented the difficult choices governments are forced to make between combating poverty and addressing climate change, calling it "a great injustice".

He said Bangladesh's significant financial commitment to climate adaptation was contrary to the global community's failure to deliver on promised funding.
"We can subsidise fossil fuels to the extent of seven trillion dollars a year, but the national adaptation plans are not funded. This double standard has to be stopped," he asserted, emphasising the urgent need for genuine global actions.

Addressing the dire consequences of glacier melting and sea level rise, he questioned: "If all the glaciers melt, how will the people of Bangladesh survive?"

Saber Chowdhury highlighted the interconnected nature of climate impacts, affecting not just mountains but also ice sheets, snow, glaciers, and permafrost.

He called for immediate actions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, warning that even a tenth of a degree increase could have catastrophic impacts.

"If we can get it right here, we can get it right for the rest of the world. This is a global existential issue," he said.

The minister also stressed the need for taking localised initiatives and collective efforts, emphasising that the solutions lie within the capabilities and political will.

"Let's not look for others; let's see what we can do. How much we can fix by our own initiatives. And that will make a difference," he said.

Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal delivered the inaugural address at the function with Forests and Environment Minister of Nepal Nawal Kishor Sah Sudi in the chair.

Dr Baikuntha Aryal, Chief Secretary of the Government of Nepal, presented a keynote paper.



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