The 26th UN Conference Of the Parties (COP26) on climate change, now in its second week and final week of negotiations, has failed so far to reach a decision on 'loss and damage', and it is now clear that there will be no decision made on this important issue at this year's conference.
Speaking to members of the Bangladesh delegation and environmental experts at the Scottish Exhibition Centre, UNB was able to learn that they are already looking forward to the next such conference, which would be COP27, for a decision on this issue.
Loss and damage from climate change refers to the complete and irrecoverable loss of some things and the repairable damage of other things due to the impacts of human-induced climate change.
Mirza Shawkat Ali, a member of the Bangladesh government delegation, told UNB that the 'breakthrough recognition' of loss and damage in the Paris Agreement was the result of years of effort on the part of countries that are most affected by climate change, including Bangladesh.
Although the developed countries are not very willing to discuss the matter voluntarily, Bangladesh has a strong role to play in this regard as it is the current chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum.
Shawkat Ali said discussions on preparing guidelines for loss and damage, fundings and considering 'Loss and damage' under COP and CMA - the group of countries who have signed and ratified the Paris Agreement -are going on at this time.
Keeping loss and damage as a separate agenda in each COP going forward is also being discussed.
The Paris Agreement reaffirmed the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage as the main vehicle under the UNFCCC process to avert, minimize and address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts, including extreme weather events and slow onset events.
Shawkat Ali added that discussions on Article 6, which relates to carbon markets, were going on at the technical level on Sunday. Adaptation is being discussed in various forums. However, talks on the $100-billion finance that industrialised countries pledged in 2009, but never followed through on, have ended. How to start long term finance will be finalised, Shawkat Ali said.
Regarding the climate conference, Dr Atiqur Rahman, another member of the Bangladesh delegation and a world-renowned scientist and expert on climate change, said that the rate of reducing carbon emissions by developing countries is generally lower than in developed countries, who are mostly responsible for huge carbon emissions historically that developing countries are suffering from most.
He said that due to climate change, cyclones, floods, cyclones, steep slopes, river and mountain erosion have increased in Bangladesh. Keeping the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels can prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change.
He said that salinity is increasing rapidly in the south region of Bangladesh. Salinity has been detected in Gopalganj too. Studies have shown that 1-2 types of crops have been damaged because of salinity. Besides, sea level has also risen.
He added that displacement and migration has become a major problem in Bangladesh due to climate change. In this regard, migration and displacement issues are being discussed at the table of various platforms / negotiations.
Meanwhile, Ziaul Haque, a member of the Bangladeshi delegation and co-ordinator of the LDC group, told UNB that although many issues were positive, discussions on loss and damage were long overdue.
He said the developed world was supposed to give $100 billion to developing countries including Bangladesh by 2020, according to the promise made in 2009. However, in order to give 100 billion by 2021 is being discussed at the tactical level.
In the meantime, about 80 billion are ready to be disbursed mentioned in the discussion. These 100 billion dollars will be disbursed till 2025.
He said the countries that emit more carbon did not object to this in principle. However, the world leaders of many countries do not agree to pay for the damage caused by climate change. After so many days of discussion, this time it has been added to the agenda. Various conditions are also being attached for the money that is being promised.
Saher Hossain Chowdhury, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Forest Climate Change, told UNB that the talks were going positively. Hopefully this time there will be progress. Once again, there was talk of securing the bill of 100 billion in funding for the affected countries. But now time is running out for all the talk to give shape to an agreement, in the form of a text that almost 200 countries need to agree on.