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BEN Newsletter, Year 9, Issues 41-42 (October 27, 2013)

New IPCC report on climate change

Recently, the IPCC (Inter governmental panel on climate change) published their latest summary report on climate change policy. Composed of fourteen chapters, the fifth report will appear in full in the next few days. In the mean time, the summary has been published. In the fourth report, published in 2007, a clear link between climate change and human activities was established. The new summary report states that this link can now be concluded scientifically with much smaller margins for error than before. Over the last few years, the quality of climate models has also improved considerably.

 

The latest summary report brings little good news for the human society; on the contrary, the dire prospects and consequences of climate change spelled out in the report have become more of a source of despair. Almost all the models predict that the earth's average temperature will increase by at least two degrees Celsius. More importantly, the surface as well as bulk temperature of the world's oceans is expected to rise continuously. The increases in C02 in the ocean waters and resulting increase in acidity has been termed as an `invisible demon'. Also, increased ocean temperature limits the absorption capacity of excess heat, thereby reducing the moderating influence of oceans on land masses. The predicted rise of water levels in the world's oceans is also greater than estimated before. Climate change is expected to result in unusually excessive rainfall in some regions, while other parts of the world are expected to suffer from unprecedented droughts. The intensity and frequency of tidal bores and flooding is also set to increase, according to the predictions pointed in this summary report.

Given this dire reality, Bangladesh needs to be on the alert at all levels on how to deal with this impending crisis and prepare appropriate mitigation efforts. If past is any guide, it is better for Bangladesh to start making preparations on its own, instead of looking for help from foreign countries. It must embark on a national effort to mitigate the consequences of the impending crisis. Details of the report can be found in the following link

 

http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5-SPM_Approved27Sep2013.pdf

 New York Times article draws attention to the dangers of climate change

Recent reports on the extent of climate change and rise in temperature seem more dire than ever before. In a recent New York Times article, it is mentioned that the temperature in 2047 will have risen to record levels in the coldest places on earth. Increasing temperature is only the start of a process that is expected to culminate in greater variability in rainfall, rise in sea water levels, increased intensity of hurricane and typhoons, increased water logging problems, decreased food production, deleterious effects on human health and a host of other ill-effects, some of which are already starting to show. Read more in the following link

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/science/earth/by-2047-coldest- years-will-be-warmer-than-hottest-in-past.html?_r=1&

 

Worrisome plans of China and India regarding the River Brahmaputra

There has been increased complication in the management of common river water between different countries. This problem has become acute among South Asian neighbors. Not only millions in China, India and Bangladesh depend on the Brahmaputra water flow for their livelihood, the entire ecosystem of the river delta system depends on it. There are many Indian projects in different stages of completion involving the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. And now, we are hearing more and more about China's plans for diverting upstream water. India has paid a lot of attention to this issue which has involved high level talks between the two countries (This issue was brought up in an earlier issue of BEN Newsletter too). However, we are unaware of any initiative from the Bangladesh government in this important matter. Recently, the influential Economist magazine has featured an article on the scarcity of water in China and India's plans. Details can be found in the following link

 

http://www.economist.com/news/china/21587813-northern- china-running-out-water-governments-remedies-are-potentially-disastrous-all

 

BEN

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