Tackling the climate crisis needs daily actions

Illustration: Collected

We are living in the era of impacts by human-induced climate change, which requires actions by everyone on the planet every single day if we are going to reach the goals set to tackle the climate crisis by 2030. We have no time to lose; every single day counts. This means that we can no longer leave things to our leaders and the annual climate summits by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), although they remain important points in time for global stocktaking of our overall progress.

Let’s look at some key actors at both global and national levels. The first topic of importance remains the issue of keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, which we are yet to achieve. Efforts need to be redoubled by everyone concerned—from investors who need to switch to renewable energy sources from fossil fuel companies, to consumers who should opt for using better products, such as electric vehicles. Each of us can do our bit to shift the trajectory towards keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.

One important element in this goal will be challenging fossil fuel companies who have quite clearly demonstrated their unwillingness to change, and indeed are doing their best to prevent change. They must be fought, and the companies who are developing renewable energy need to be supported.

Other companies also have a key role to play by aligning themselves with the Race to Zero global campaign to achieve net zero carbon emissions, and actually delivering their promises once they join in.

The second issue is tackling the climate impacts that are unfortunately a reality now, as we have already entered the era of loss and damage from human-induced climate change. So, we need to deal with adaptation and loss and damage at the same time. The Race to Resilience campaign is focused on this issue, and every organisation and group can join it.

This will need actions by individuals, households, communities, towns, cities, and countries that are the most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, as well as by all the other actors who support those communities to adapt before climate change impacts occur and deal with the loss and damage once those impacts actually take effect.

By now, every government is well aware of the need to invest in climate adaptation and are developing national adaptation plans (NAPs), but actual implementation of those plans is still a long way ahead. The main actors here are, of course, the national governments, but local governments as well as the private sector, scientific research institutions, NGOs and civil societies are also vital to enable the most vulnerable to be better prepared for climate impacts.

A particularly important group in both mitigation and adaptation are the youth in each country, who have an important role to play not just at the local level, but also at the global level.

In the context of Bangladesh, the issue of tackling climate change has been well understood and given due importance in national planning, with the latest being the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan (MCPP), which now needs to have a whole-of-society approach to its implementation.

In conclusion, the global climate emergency now needs to be taken seriously by every citizen of Planet Earth. Actions need to be taken every single day if we want to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Originally this article was published on January 19, 2022 at Daily Star. The author Prof. Saleemul Huq is the director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) at the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB).
Email: saleemul.huq@icccad.org