DHAKA: Bangladesh will require climate-smart policies and investments to make it more resilient to the adverse effects of climate change, said a new World Bank report titled ‘The Cost of adapting to extreme weather events in a changing climate’.
The report also estimates that adaptation costs from increased risks of cyclones and inland monsoon floods in a changing climate will be approximately US$5.7 billion by 2050.
Environment and Forests Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud unveiled the WB report at a programme in the city Thursday. Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh was also present on the occasion.
The World Bank conducted the study in collaboration with the Institute of Water Modeling and the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services with financial support from the Government of the Netherlands, and the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (supported by Denmark, the EU, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK).
The report says that that monsoon floods will affect an additional 2 million people by inundating new areas due to climate change.
At present, a total of eight million people in the coastal area are vulnerable to inundation depths greater than 3 meters for cyclonic storm surges and the number will increase to 13.5 million by 2050.
In addition, some nine million people are expected to be exposed to inundation depths above 3-meter due to climate change.
Bangladesh has already made extensive infrastructure to protect coastal residents from cyclones and tidal waves. To avert further damage and loss from cyclonic storm surges in a changing climate an additional US$2.4 billion will be required to build up climate-proof critical infrastructure by 2050.
The report also observes that for inland monsoon flood, the cost of adaptation for the railways, road network, embankments and drainage infrastructure to offset additional inundation due to climate change alone is estimated at US$3.3 billion.
Addressing the function Dr Hasan Mahmud said, “Climate change is no longer only an environmental issue but it is a development issue.”
He said, in the launching ceremony, “We have invested billions in adaptation measures such as flood management schemes, coastal embankments, cyclone shelters and others.
However, the journey is far from being over and the study will help us better understand the additional risks caused by natural disasters in a changing climate, he said.
At present, a severe cyclone strikes Bangladesh every three years, and the country faces serious monsoon inland flooding that may submerge over 60 percent of the country every 4 to 5 years.
In a changing climate, Bangladesh is likely to experience higher-intensity cyclonic storm surges and heavier, more erratic monsoon flooding.
Addressing the function Ellen Goldstein said, “Adaptation to increased risks from climate-induced weather events is essential for development worldwide, but particularly in Bangladesh”
She added: “This study provides an analytic framework for understanding the challenge ahead. It is building block within the World Bank’s broader technical and financial commitment to support a climate-resilient future in Bangladesh.”
BDST: 1744 HRS, MAR 01, 2012
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