ACT colleague Dr. John Richards of SFU’s Public Policy Program will be speaking at a conference that will address Bangladesh’s potential to adapt to climate change over the coming century. The conference will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, 9th December at the Liu Centre, University of British Columbia, from 3:00 – 7:30 p.m.

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Read Dr. Richards’ abstract below:

Global warming poses obvious and severe problems to Bangladesh: inundation of low-elevation coastal lands due to rising sea levels, probable increase in frequency of severe cyclones, potential reduction in annual monsoon rainfall, and simultaneously exacerbated flooding risk from monsoon rains due to deforestation in Himalayan foothills of India and Nepal. Unfortunately, Bangladesh is not a powerful actor in international diplomacy. As the 7th most populous country in the world, however, it can potentially play a substantive diplomatic role at venues such as the UN climate change Copenhagen conference. Bangladesh should insist 1) that the major emitters (China, US, India and EU) adopt meaningful measures to reduce their emissions, and 2) that any diplomatic arrangement transfer revenues to the least developed countries to counter effects of global warming. This is a core argument of Lord Stern, author of the “Stern Review” of the economic costs of climate change. Bangladesh can strengthen its diplomatic case by accentuating domestic policies that would help Bangladesh to adapt over the coming century to climate change. Among such policies are 1) better protection of remaining forest areas (the Sunderban in particular); 2) provision of substitutes to biomass fuels for village cooking needs (by, for example, distributing coal and efficient stoves to villages); 3) more ambitious family planning programs to reduce population pressure on land.