|Response to Mr. Tanveer’s Article on |
Combat of Climate Change
Climate alarmism is a new term recently articulated and added to climate change impact debate by climate sceptics. They refer it to as the mantra of climate warriors like Greta Thunberg in relation to the extremes of climate change impacts, predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their latest report.
The climate change impact is real and is disseminated in IPCC report with regard to a range of possible scenarios, from worse to catastrophic categories. To be on safe side, we have to start debate and preparations for the worst possible scenario. So it is nothing wrong with this approach. Since not much has been done about the climate change impact till now, it is important to raise the red flag.
Relying on fossil fuel like coal has immediate and sustained negative impact. This is particularly true for Rampal Power Plant located in the vicinity of Sundarban Mangrove Forest, a UNESCO heritage site. The perils of a coal fired power plant for sensitive site like Sundarban, including impact on economic interest of the people dependent on it, have been reported in detail by the research work of Dr. Anu Muhammad, National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports, and considered by the UNESCO. The Committee has also recommended alternative power plant solution, including safer location away from Rampal, to the government, which it turned a deaf ear to. The case of Rampal Power Plant above all is mired in cross-border politics.
Dhaka Tribune reported on 10 September, 2021 “Official and unofficial figures show Bangladesh hardly utilizes half of its installed power capacity, but each year government makes a hefty payment to power plants as ‘capacity cost’ despite not utilizing the electricity.” So question may be asked what the basis for the planning of this capacity was! And how it is going to help poverty reduction wasting on so much investment! For Bangladesh, running power plant on imported coal or gas is also fraught with risks like disruption in or unilateral stoppage of coal supply by the exporting country.
The world must act to combat climate change for the sake of a safe planet for our future generations, but not aiming at short term gain in the name of development or poverty reduction. The prospect of renewable source of energy is getting brighter day by day in fact. It is right to strike a balance between the development and environment.
I am afraid, Mr. Tanveer’s message could be construed as advocacy for coal fired power plant for Bangladesh, in particular. Bangladesh needs sustainable planning for future generation, that would look into a range of solution options in terms of impact on environment, cost-benefit, safety, flexibility to reach a balanced one. Achieving poverty reduction by whatever means should not be a priority.
- Faruk Kader, Sydney