29 September 2022, Dhaka: Ten Members of Parliament of Bangladesh yesterday endorsed the ‘Parliamentarians’ call for a fossil fuel free future’ to address the urgency of a swift and just transition away from fossil fuels and building democratic, renewable, safe energy systems for all people and communities in line with the goal of keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius and preventing climate catastrophe.
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable nations in the world to the impacts of climate change, while it has produced only a miniscule amount of the greenhouse gas emissions.
The ten MPs – Tanvir Shakil Joy, Waseqa Ayesha Khan, Mustafa Lutfullah, Ahsan Adelur Rahman, Naheed Ezaher Khan, Selim Altaf Gorge, Shameem Haidar Patwary, Razee Mohammad Fakhrul, Pankaj Nath, and Rumana Ali – are prominent leaders who have pushed the climate agenda in Parliament.
Bangladesh MPs Saber Chowdhury and Nahim Razzaq were among the first signatories from the country to endorse the call.
“Parliamentarians Call for a Fossil Fuel Free Future has inspired Bangladesh parliamentarians to demonstrate national and global leadership and solidarity in responding to the climate emergency. From the halls of Jatiya Sangsad to the beaches of Sharm-El Sheikh, we will speak as one in urging governments to take more decisive actions for a rapid, just and equitable phase out of fossil fuels”, said MP Saber Chowdhury, lauding his colleagues in the Bangladesh Parliament for signing on to the Parliamentarians’ Call.
This comes just a fortnight after 10 parliamentarians from Nepal endorsed a call for a global transition away from coal, oil and gas. The list of parliamentarians has been growing, and to-date 460 members of parliaments from 63 countries have endorsed the call, displaying a strong sign of solidarity with the proposal for managed reduction of dependence on fossil fuels.
“The parliamentarians’ call for a fossil fuel free future is a crucial initiative. Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts and is already facing the onslaught. The urgency of the situation is not being matched by actions of countries who are most responsible for emissions due to fossil fuels that have caused the climate crisis. Hence, in the face of an accelerating climate crisis, I must therefore declare my support for a fossil fuel free future and a just energy transition at the national level. I also hope developed countries will act to secure a fossil fuel free future.“, said Member of Parliament Waseqa Ayesha Khan, who has been working on issues in climate change, energy, finance, and women in particular.
Over the past few decades, flooding, storm surges, cyclones and droughts have ravaged Bangladesh. The country has a nearly unparalleled vulnerability to climate change. Bangladesh’s flat landscape and dense population leaves communities uniquely susceptible to the effects of climate change. Even in the country’s interior, climate change has sparked widespread drought, a crisis that’s affecting millions of poor and vulnerable, especially women and children.
The Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan set out actions to be taken by the country over the short, medium and long term to tackle climate change; one main action is to transition to renewable energy, which the Parliamentarians’ Call for a Fossil Fuel Free Future seeks to address through a collective voice.
Prof. Saleemul Huq (OBE), Director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Bangladesh, and a leading public voice on the urgent imperative of climate action, said, “I have had the pleasure of helping to start building the process of a call for a fossil fuel free world and am very pleased to see the momentum it has already gained around the world. I am proud that a number of Members of Parliament from Bangladesh have also called for the same. I hope more MPs and even the Mayors of Dhaka and other cities can also lend their voice to the movement.“
Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia, too applauded the initiative, saying: “I congratulate the ten parliamentarians from Bangladesh for their climate leadership in calling for a fossil fuel free future, and urge their counterparts in other countries of the South Asian region to follow their example to provide the appropriate policy response to the climate crisis. They have shown leadership and determination to combat this emergency, and as representatives of their people, they are on the right path towards seeking for their people the right to democratic, renewable and safe energy systems, and also safe, secure life and livelihoods, in the face of certain climate disasters.”
Mukul Sharma, Asia Director, Climate Parliament, noted: “The voices of these ten climate-concerned parliamentarians from Bangladesh will be a formidable voice in persuading governments, public institutions and corporations to take more decisive climate actions particularly in shifting away from fossil fuels and accelerating the development of renewable and clean energy-centric initiatives. I hope other South Asian parliamentarians and leaders will follow suit.”
An up-to-date list of the signatories and the full text of their call is available at fossilfuelfreefuture.org