This is a moving and disturbing story (‘Every year it gets worse’: on the frontline of the climate crisis in Bangladesh, 5 July) – a wake-up call to all of us about the direct environmental and indirect social and political consequences of our (the developed world’s) dependency on fossil fuels. One of the world’s poorest countries, with a population of around 160 million, cannot be held responsible for the CO2 emissions that are the cause of the disastrous climate change impacts it is experiencing. Bangladesh accounts for only 0.3% of the world’s carbon emissions, so not much room for cuts there.
During a visit to Bangladesh in 2004, I witnessed another impact of climate crisis – flash floods from increased melt in the Himalayas that engulfed the rice crop in the Sunamganj district only a week or two before the harvest. During a boat journey to assess the effect on schools and families in Sulla, it appeared that fishers were hard at work – but no, they were salvaging their rice crop from beneath the flood water. The “rotten rice” harvest provided only about 20% of the potential yield. This happened before the disastrous monsoon floods that year.
If the climate crisis is not addressed urgently, it will lead to massive environmental migration – or do we wish to be accused of “climatic genocide”?
Prof Steve Martin
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