The window to limiting temperature rise to 1.5°c is still open: Environment Minister Saber

Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Saber Hossain Chowdhury said climate change is an existential threat but we have not yet entered the era of overshoot.

If emissions peak by 2025, are halved by 2030 and we achieve net zero by 2050, then the worst impacts of climate change can still be avoided and we can limit temperature rise to 1.5C. The window though is a narrow one and it will require strong ambition and political will.

Environment Minister said this while speaking at the Munich Security Conference held in Munich, Germany on Saturday, February 17, in a panel titled “The unavoidable master risk? Addressing climate overshoot.”

Environment Minister said overshoot and breaching 1.5C will make what is already a disastrous reality even much worse and IPCC has clearly stated that sustainable development will in many cases not be possible.

Saber Chowdhury said that climate change is already exacerbating existing social, economic, and geopolitical vulnerabilities, putting national peace and stability at risk. He pointed to sea level rise as a major threat to Bangladesh, as well as increased drought in the north-western regions of the country.

Environment Minister said climate change is already causing more frequent and extreme weather events, which are leading to displacement of people from their homes. Chowdhury said that by 2050, an estimated 13.3 million people in Bangladesh (the entire population of State of Bavaria) will be displaced by climate change, making it the country’s number one driver of internal migration.

Environment Minister called for urgent action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, saying that this is a matter of survival. He also said that developed countries need to provide scaled up and adequate financial assistance to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change and build resilience.

He further said we should not rush into untested technology and chartered waters such as Carbon Dioxide Removal and Solar Radiation Modification and we should instead focus on what we know for certain works – mitigation, nature based solutions, afforestation.

The panel discussion was also attended by former Costa Rican President and Commissioner of the Climate Overshoot Commission, Carlos Alvarado Quesada; former Pakistani Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar; and European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Maroš Šefčovič.

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