Green Economy: A time befitting step towards combatting climate change and the role of Bangladesh within the new Green Economy.

Green Economy: A time befitting step towards combatting climate change and the role of Bangladesh within the new Green Economy.

Amit Kumar Acharjee

The Green house effect, climate change, global warming, deforestation and many other forms of pollution are matters of concern for the people across the world. Scientists, environmentalists, climatologists, heads of state, all are trying to find ways and means to give a pragmatic solution to the problem. High profile seminars, official summits and academic debates are all speaking of the role of industrialised countries in contributing markedly towards pollution. However, both developed and developing countries across the world are stymying a pragmatic solution to environmental pollution in the race to achieve high economic growth rates.

What therefore is a solution to this destructive course? The term that echoes in the present context is the GREEN ECONOMY. A green economy is an economy or economic development model based on sustainable development and a knowledge of ecological economics.

Practically speaking, a green economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These investments need to be catalyzed and supported by targeted public expenditure, policy reforms and regulation changes. This development path should maintain, enhance and, where necessary, rebuild natural capital as a critical economic asset and source of public benefits, especially for poor people whose livelihoods and security depend strongly on nature.

UNEP has developed a working definition of a green economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. The UNEP-led Green Economy Initiative, launched in late 2008, consists of several components whose collective overall objective is to provide the analysis and policy support for investing in green sectors and in greening environmental unfriendly sectors.

Within UNEP, the Green Economy Initiative includes three sets of activities:

1.    Producing a Green Economy Report and related research materials, which will analyse the macroeconomic, sustainability, and poverty reduction implications of green investment in a range of sectors from renewable energy to sustainable agriculture and providing guidance on policies that can catalyze increased investment in these sectors.
2.    Providing  advisory services on ways to move towards a green economy in specific countries.
3.    Engaging a wide range of research, non-governmental organizations, business and UN partners in implementing the Green Economy Initiative.

Beyond UNEP, the Green Economy Initiative is one of the nine UN-wide Joint Crisis Initiatives (JCI) launched by the UN System’s Chief Executives Board in early 2009. In this context, the Initiative includes a wide range of research activities and capacity building events from more than 20 UN agencies including the Bretton Woods Institutions, as well as an Issue Management Group (IMG) on Green Economy, launched in Washington, DC, in March 2010.

Bangladesh is trapped between the Himalayas in the north and the encroaching Bay of Bengal to the south. Bangladesh is most vulnerable to natural disasters due to the frequency of extreme climate events and its high population density. Floods are frequent and cause the greatest economic and human losses to the country. The flooding problems are exacerbated by sediment transported by three major rivers- the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna.

Climate change poses significant risks for Bangladesh. The impacts of higher temperatures, more variable precipitation, more extreme weather events, and sea level rise are already felt in Bangladesh and will continue to intensify. The impacts result not only from gradual changes in temperature and sea level but also, in particular, from increased climate variability and extreme events, including more intense floods, droughts, and storms.

Bangladesh is facing a challenge in combating climate change. It is vulnerable to natural disasters almost all the year round. Green economy is a probable solution to preventing  the country from the natural disasters. Green revolution, green technology, greeneries, pose a hope of ray in the reduction of carbon emission across the world. Solar panel, electric car, windmill, biogas plant, organic food, to more or lesser degree, can pave the way of maintaining eco system in the country. Solar is the boom area of the green economy. Recently World Bank has approved US $ 172 million credit to Bangladesh to support the ongoing installation of additional 630,000 Solar Home Systems in the rural area where grid electricity is not feasible or hard to reach. Each country faces its own unique set of green economy challenges.

During the last couple of years, China has taken a huge, globally-recognized step to make its economy more sustainable. The green agenda was added to government programmes, incorporated in business strategies and integrated into teaching schemes. On the one hand, international pressures on the world’s leading emitter to cap emissions led China to initiate a transition to building a green economy. On the other hand, a pressing domestic demand for a better living environment without the current suffocating air and water pollution provided another incentive. Green economics is not just about the environment. Certainly we must move to harmonize with natural systems, to make our economies flow benignly like sailboats in the wind of ecosystem processes. But doing this requires great human creativity, tremendous knowledge, and the widespread participation of everyone. Human beings and human workers can no longer serve as cogs in the machine of accumulation, be it capitalistic or socialistic. Ecological development requires an unleashing of human development and an extension of democracy. Social and ecological transformation go hand-in-hand.

Bangladesh is stepping towards green economy policies to save the degrading eco system. IDCOL, the non-bank financial institution, has already installed 10 lakh SHSs. It has now set a new target to install a total of 25 lakh SHSs by 2014 in areas where electricity is not available. According to IDCOL data, it has installed around 12 lakh SHSs till October. A total of its 29 partner organisations are installing around 40,000 SHS a month. Rahimafrooz pioneered in the solar sector in Bangladesh in 1985 as a unit of Rahimafrooz Batteries Ltd. Following the success of solar energy, the company formed a separate business unit — Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Ltd — in 2006. Bangladesh is self-reliant in all the accessories needed in solar housing systems, including batteries and wires, except solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. Bangladesh needs green revolution to build  up green economy in the country.

 

The author of this article was Amit Kumar Acharjee, who is presently studying at Dhaka University. He can be contacted at: amitacharjee2011@gmail.com. If you would like to contribute to this site, please send your articles to: bangladesh.economy@googlemail.com

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