Sea level rise to displace millions in Bangladesh

As many as 20 million people of the country would be displaced if sea level rises to 1.5 meters as low-lying coast areas would no longer physically exist in a 4 degree Celsius world.

This was revealed here today in a report titled “In to Unknown Territory: The Limits to Adaptation and Reality of Loss and Damage from Climate Impacts” presented by four NGO’s at a function at the National Press Club.

Quoting the international Organization for Migration, it said, loss of habitable land from climate impacts is the root cause of population displacement. Globally, the report said, 4 Celsius world commonly cited that 200 million people displaced by climate change by 2050 ‘could easily be exceeded’.

Over 20 million people of Bangladesh alone would be displaced due to rising of sea level with an increasing number of cyclones and storms surges.

It said Action Aid in its study found that internal migration has already increased but nature of migration is a more complex phenomenon than is usually understood.

Action Aid, CARE, Germanwatch and WWF jointly presented the report at the function moderated by Farah Kabir. Selim Reza Hasan of CARE, Tanjir Hossain of Action Aid and Hafijul Islam Khan of Germanwatch jointly presented the reports and delivered their findings. CARE Country director Nick Southern also spoke.

The report quoted the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that examining climate-related disasters found that “fatality rates and economic losses expressed as a proportion of GDP are higher in developing countries.”

Between 1970-2008, it said over 95 percent deaths from natural disasters occurred in developing countries.

The report suggests that climate-related loss and damage is too big an issue to be resolved only by an environmental agreement through the UNFCCC. Government and civil society must start raising the issue of loss and damage with bodies beyond the UNFCCC in order to address it comprehensibly.

The speakers urged the government to form a ‘compensation fund’ like climate trust fund that was formed by Bangladesh with its own resources.

They said Bangladesh should raise the compensation fund for loss and damage in the upcoming climate conference in Doha and it needs to define further steps based on the output of the work programme.